The BSA Guide to Boarding - Autumn 2022

Page 1

Part of the BSA Group


T H E B S A G U I D E TO B OA R D I N G S C H O O L S • T H E O F F I C I A L G U I D E O F T H E B OA R D I N G S C H O O L S ’ A S S O C I AT I O N • AU T U M N 2 0 2 2

The bsa



DISCOVER? OPEN DAY EVENTS: Open Morning: Sat 1st October – Heathfield Open Morning: Sat 8th October – Rishworth Open Evening: Tues 1st November – Sixth Form Rishworth is a vibrant independent, co-educational, boarding and day school set in 140 acres of stunning rural countryside. With its own Preparatory School, Heathfield, it offers a continuous education for children from age 3 to 18. As well as specified Open Day events, we are welcoming families to visit us for pre-booked personal tours conducted at your convenience. To find out more or to book an appointment, please call

Scholarships & Bursaries available

Flexi & Weekly Boarding available

01422 822 217 or email

Visit us at or call 01422 822 217 Rishworth, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom HX6 4QA. E:



View our virtual tour


Foreword Mark Lauder, Headmaster, Strathallan School and BSA Interim Chair, 2022 affect the dynamics and happiness of your household. All boarding schools are united in a deep, shared belief in the value that a highquality modern boarding education can offer families. Boarding schools offer a unique richness of community. They are open, tolerant and vibrant places where education happens 24 hours a day and is deeply embedded. Learning is a way of life not limited to the classroom. A boarding Becoming a parent means you are faced with a bewildering number of choices. Choosing the right school for your child is one of the most important decisions of all since a child’s education has a major influence on their current and future wellbeing and their life journey. Thank

education is predicated on relationships and the values that underpin them – respect, tolerance, inclusion, humility and kindness. One of the unique benefits of a boarding education is that it enables pupils to develop many life skills through

you for taking the time to read this Guide.

community living – getting along with

The Guide contains a wealth of information

ease with others, taking up opportunities,

that will enable you to narrow your search for a boarding school and help you find the right match for your child. I hope you are already aware of the benefits of a boarding education – this Guide will help you find out more about the opportunities of different boarding contexts. At the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) we know that choosing a school can be as mystifying as it is exciting. There are so many good boarding schools offering an excellent education. You can choose from rural, town, city, boys, girls, mixed, junior, senior, all-through, sixth-form, all-around, specialist, flexi, weekly, full boarding, state or independent. Or you may want a combination of different schools at different ages. The choice is as broad and flexible as the boarding sector itself – rightly so as every

people different from themselves, being at dealing with setbacks, problem-solving and communicating effectively. Boarding schools welcome parents to be a part of their boarding community. Home–school communication is highly effective and there are many ways to be involved, from attending events to taking up roles on committees. Boarding schools also take time to communicate with and support parents at each stage. In fact, parents often report that the quality of their relationship with their children develops through the boarding experience. The BSA represents more than 600 boarding schools in the UK and overseas. It provides a wide range of services including professional development, government

child and every family have different needs.

relations, communications, safeguarding,

As well as matching a school to your child’s

schools, media, publications, conferences

needs, it is also important to consider whether logistically you can make the school you choose work with all the other constraints on your family life, as this will

health education and immigration advice for and events. We hope you find the Guide helpful in choosing the best boarding school for your child.

Mark Lauder began his teaching career at Shiplake College and has a wealth of boarding experience. He has held senior positions at Felsted School and Ashville College, where he was Head for seven years. Now in his sixth year as Headmaster of Strathallan School, he has also been an ISI team inspector and a school governor and he served as BSA Chair in 2020.

Contents Foreword


Mark Lauder, Headmaster, Strathallan School and BSA Interim Chair, 2022

News Choosing and assessing schools What about boarding schools?

Barnaby Lenon, Headmaster, Harrow School, 1999–2011 and Chairman, Independent Schools Council (ISC)



Out of the ordinary: realising the potential of every child


Schools together in partnership


Supporting character development in a boarding school


Building resilience in boarding schools


Dr Joe Spence, Master, Dulwich College

14 16

Inspections of accredited independent boarding schools


Ofsted inspection of boarding schools


The importance of good governance


Turning minimum standards into excellence

Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI)

Dale Wilkins, Senior Director, BSA Group

Boarding lessons from COVID-19 Natalie Bone, Head, Sherborne Prep Charlie Jenkins, Head, Shebbear College John Browne, Head, Stonyhurst College

What makes a good boarding school? Barney Durrant, Head, St Lawrence College

Boarding at an independent school

Julie Robinson, Chief Executive, Independent Schools Council (ISC)

Paul Sanderson, Headmaster, Bloxham School

Thomas Garnier, Headmaster, Pangbourne College

Boarding schools and philanthropy: 70 engendering an ethos of kindness and compassion Matthew Godfrey, Senior Deputy Head, Downe House School

Looking after children and young people’s mental health after COVID-19



David Walker, Deputy Head (Pastoral and Wellbeing), Wellington College

School visits: questions and answers


The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – making a difference to young people’s lives


Faith in our schools


Learning modern foreign languages at a boarding school


Specialist schools – arts, drama, music


Twenty-first century learning – embracing technology to drive a culture of learning


The importance of creativity


Teaching empathy


Recognising the physical and mental value of sport


The importance of pastoral care


Boarding in the North of England


Boarding at sixth-form colleges


BSA Certified Agent and Guardian schemes


BSA certified guardians


BSA certified agents


Graham Able, Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus Dale Wilkins, Senior Director, BSA Group

Adrian Underwood, Education Consultant

Graham Able, Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus

Schools founded by the Military Schools with a military history


The benefits of state boarding


Choosing state boarding


State boarding schools


The benefits of sixth-form boarding


Life at a state boarding school


Jonathan Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Sapientia Education Trust (SET)

Emma Fielding, Principal, Richard Huish College Dr Chris Pyle, Head, Lancaster Royal Grammar School

Rachel Rees, Deputy Head Pastoral, Monmouth School for Girls

Louise Orton, Senior Deputy Head (Academic), Sherborne Girls

State boarding schools Will Chuter, Head, Cranbrook School

Ruth Marvel, CEO, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Victoria Rose, Director of Art, Dauntsey’s Damian Todres, Director of Drama and Head of the Creative Arts Faculty, Wells Cathedral School

Rob Kift, Director of Sport, Hurst College

Andrew Russell, Headmaster, St David’s College Jeremy Walker, Head Master, St Peter’s School, York Dr Julian Davies, Principal, Abbey College, Cambridge Caroline Nixon, International and Membership Director, Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) and Director, British Association of Independent Schools with International Students, and Ammy Davies-Potter, Director of Guardianship and Inclusion, BSA

Photo with kind permission of Sherborne Girls School, Sherborne Boys School and Sherborne Prep School


Preparatory schools

Special educational needs and disabilities Educational provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities


Special educational needs provision in boarding schools


What is CReSTeD and how does it help boarding families?


The advantages of starting boarding in a prep school


The popularity of prep school boarding


The benefits of prep school boarding


Music – an important part of the boarding experience


Outdoor learning – ‘rewilding’ pupils


Provision in the independent sector for pupils 136 with special educational needs and disabilities

Using robotics, 3D printing and computing in a prep school


Curriculum choices

How boarding schools support children’s mental and emotional development


Charlie Hammel, Deputy Head Academic, St Swithun’s School, Winchester

David Smellie, Partner, Farrer & Co

Christopher King, Chief Executive, Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) Dr Trevor Richards, Head, All Hallows Preparatory School Robert Lankester, Headmaster, Maidwell Hall

Sally Moore, Head of Learning Support, Fulneck School

Gareth Jones, Headmaster, Bilton Grange

Will Frost, Head of Geography and Outdoor Learning, Salisbury Cathedral School

Brendan Wignall, Headmaster, Ellesmere College and Chair, CReSTeD

GCSEs and IGCSEs in a changed curricular landscape


Fred de Falbe, Headmaster, Beeston Hall

Sixth form – future ready, set, go!


Responsibility versus maturity – when to 114 introduce more freedom to prep school boarders

Sixth-form programmes – the choice


Olly Langton, Headmaster, Belhaven Hill School

Rhiannon Wilkinson, Head, Ashville College

Paddy Moss, Headmaster, Dean Close Preparatory School

Preparing pupils for the transition to senior schools


Simone Mitchell, Deputy Head, Director of Teaching and Learning, Swanbourne House School

Being a new prep school boarder

Jon Timmins, Acting Head, Wymondham College Prep School and Head of Underwood Hall


What does a bespoke education actually mean? 120 Jo Cameron, Principal, Queenswood School

Girls and STEAM subjects


Boarding as preparation for twenty-first century life


Lisa Kerr, Principal, Gordonstoun

What do we mean by a boarder’s progress and 128 how do schools measure it? Chris Hillman, Deputy Head Academic, Godolphin School

School fee planning


Useful contacts


BSA member schools


Andrew Ashton, Bursar, Radley College

Senior schools

Olivera Raraty, Headmistress, Malvern St James Girls’ School


Dear parent, Hello and welcome to the ‘BSA Guide to Boarding Schools’. As a former boarder myself, I can tell you that boarding today is a very different world to the one I remember. It’s certainly nothing like the stereotypical images of boarding which wouldn’t be out of place on the pages of a Harry Potter novel, that may still be conjured up for some when the name ‘boarding school’ is uttered! In fact, the reality couldn’t be more

So there’s no shortage of options, and this

different. Modern boarding offers parents

Guide aims to give you a comprehensive

and pupils a broad range of options,

overview of the choices that are open

providing tremendous flexibility to suit

to you and your child when it comes to

almost any young person and fit in with

selecting a school. We also hope it will

all types of busy lifestyle.

help you to identify what you need to look for when visiting a school, and the right

The BSA Guide to Boarding Schools is a trade mark owned by BSA Group. Published by: BSA Group

questions to ask speaking to staff.

Bluett House

popular choice. It’s widely recognised as

There’s also advice on the help that’s out


a great way to develop independence,

there in terms of selecting the right school

strong inter-personal skills, a sense of

in the form of education agents, and

community and teamwork, and form

support for pupils living away from home

long-lasting friendships. But there are

from education guardians. BSA operates

other options too.

certification schemes for both agents and

Full boarding, where students are based at school all day, every day, remains a

guardians to assure parents of quality, Weekly boarding, which sees students

and you can find out more about those

attending school during the week,

schemes in this Guide.

typically going home on a Friday or Saturday and returning on Sunday

Making that definitive choice of the right

evening or Monday morning, also offers

boarding school for your child can be a

excellent structure, support and facilities

lengthy process, but taking all the time

for an extended time. And then there’s

you need to get your decision absolutely

flexi or occasional boarding; an excellent

right is crucial. Boarding will not suit every

way to get a taste of boarding life by

child or family – but for the right child, in

boarding part-time or semi-regularly.

the right school, it can offer an enriching

Students often enjoy this so much they

life experience like no other. We hope this

decide to move to weekly or full boarding.

Guide will give you everything you need to make that choice a lot easier.

And no two boarding schools are the same. Some are based in cities, others in more rural locations. Some are single-sex,

Best wishes,

while others are co-educational. Or

Robin Fletcher

should you choose an academic school, or

CEO, BSA and BSA Group

one which focuses specifically on the arts or sport?

Unit 11-12 Manor Farm Basingstoke RG25 2JB +44 (0)207 798 1580 Chief Executive: Robin Fletcher Editor: Sheila White Head of Commercial: Neil Rust Some of the articles in this Guide have not been updated since March 2020. Photographs for many articles were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest information on COVID-19 and boarding go to The information and views in this Guide were correct to the best of the Editor’s and Publisher’s belief at the time of going to press and no responsibility can be accepted for outof-date information, errors or omissions. While every effort has been made, it may not always have been possible to trace all copyright holders. If any omissions are brought to our attention, we will be happy to include appropriate acknowledgements in the next edition of the Guide. The BSA Guide to Boarding Schools is published twice a year by BSA Group, a company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 4676107. All rights reserved. No part of this Guide may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without written permission from the Publisher. Front cover photo with kind permission of Sherborne Preparatory School taken by Katharine Davies




APPOINTMENT OF A NEW HEADMASTER Cricketers of Mayfield Girls’ School were recently The Governors of Stonyhurst are delighted to announce the appointment of a new Headmaster for Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall. Fr Christopher Cann is currently Headmaster of Ratcliffe College Preparatory School in Leicestershire and was previously Headmaster of Leicester Preparatory School and Denstone College Preparatory School. He has a Master of Arts degree in French from the University of St Andrews and in Theology from the University of Oxford. He is married to Honor, who is a GP, and has six children and two grandchildren.

delighted to welcome the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club)

Fr Christopher is a former Anglican priest who was received into the Catholic church in 2011 and is now a priest of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Fr Christopher joins on September 1, 2022, providing a seamless transition following the stepping down of Ian Murphy at the end of the academic year after eight extremely successful years as Headmaster.

performances from Lizzie (39 not out), Zara (35) and Flo (26),

He said: “I feel very honoured to be appointed as the next Headmaster of Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall. I very much look forward to getting to know all the SMH children, parents and staff and to working closely, under the guidance of the Governing Body, with John Browne, Head of Stonyhurst, to build on the tremendous success the school has enjoyed in recent years.” John Browne, Head of Stonyhurst, said: “I am delighted to welcome Fr Christopher Cann and his wife Honor to St Mary’s Hall and the Stonyhurst family. He brings a wealth of knowledge and a deep experience of education and spirituality to Stonyhurst, as well as a background in all areas of school leadership, including eight years as Headmaster of Ratcliffe College Preparatory School immediately before joining us.” Mr Browne added: “I should like to thank Ian Murphy for his contribution to Stonyhurst. He has played a hugely significant role in leading the St Mary’s Hall community since 2014, and particularly in meeting the challenges of the pandemic in recent times. Ian has fostered a culture that ensures that St Mary’s Hall is a joyful place for young people to flourish.”

for just the second time in their history. The students, ranging in age from 11 to 18, played two T20 fixtures against a women’s representative MCC side, containing two ex-international cricketers. On both occasions the MCC won the toss and elected to bat first. On a warm and sunny day they were able to make the most of the conditions, setting a tough target for Mayfield’s young cricketers to chase down. Despite some great batting Mayfield fell just short in their run chase in both games. Emily Starr, Mayfield’s Head of Cricket, said: “It is a real honour to play the MCC and play our part in championing women’s cricket. The sport is now a firm favourite at Mayfield even though we introduced it as a major sport only five years ago. In that time we have established a comprehensive programme and now have several girls in their respective age group county squads. For the last two years we have been recognised by The Cricketer magazine as one of the country’s top 20 all-girls’ schools for cricket. A big thank you to the MCC for giving our girls this opportunity.”


BADMINTON SCHOOL PIONEERING SCIENCE OUTREACH PROGRAMME Recent reports in the media suggest that “Girls see

Noor Fatima, Badminton School’s Science Outreach Officer

physics as for white men only” and MPs have been told

(aged 16), said: “Our main work is providing a diverse set of

that girls do not take physics at A level because they

role models for young children, to counteract the perception

think the subject is only for white boys.

that physics and other sciences only appeal to white men. At my school we want the physical sciences to be inclusive;

The Science Outreach at Badminton School is a unique

to show young women’s interest and involvement in them.

programme established to help redress this imbalance in

Through this approach we also enable our community to

three key ways: by providing strong, positive role models of

continue engaging with science even when they choose a

young female scientists engaged in exciting practical work in

different academic path. Everyone can have fun doing physics

the wider community, by encouraging the uptake of STEM

even if they don’t become a physicist because we make

subjects through the opportunity to deliver practical-based

science accessible to all.”

shows, and by providing girls who wish to study science beyond A level with a set of unique experiences they can use

Mr David Williams, Head of Science Outreach at Badminton

to support applications to higher education courses.

School, said: “There is no difference between girls’ and boys’ ability in physics when they come to choose A-level

Pupils get the opportunity to demonstrate and present a

subjects and the key to achieving a more equal balance

range of science experiments in front of audiences varying

in the physical sciences – especially physics – is for young

from primary school-aged children to audiences in their

people of both genders to have strong, positive role models

thousands. The Science Outreach teams get invited to

of young women engaging in exciting practical activities. I am

perform live demonstrations and present to big ticket events

proud that Badminton School is at the forefront of increasing

such as The UK Big Bang, WOMAD and Green Man festivals.

the participation and visibility of young women in physics and I hope that through our work with other schools and

The events are almost always aimed at both girls and boys.

organisations, we can show that science is for everyone to an

The girls need the inspiration of seeing female scientists

ever-increasing audience.”

doing exciting practical physics and speaking confidently about the subject. Meanwhile a key element of overcoming gender-based stereotypes in science is for boys to see that it is normal for girls to be confidently undertaking practical roles. Science Outreach keep being invited back to large events because it is a unique example of girls engaged in the physical sciences.


plan your childʼs future Saturday 12 November Sunday 13 November Battersea Evolution, SW8 4NW

Meet over 250 London schools, boarding schools, specialist schools, schools within commuting distance.


Find out how to: find the right school, prepare for entry tests, start boarding, transfer from a state school, see if you qualify for fee assistance. Register now at



Mr Hart enjoyed a successful career in the Army Air Corp

bigger and bigger.” Sam Hart believes he has made the

and was awarded the NATO Meritorious Service Medal for

best decision of his career and has vowed to increase

outstanding leadership on an Operation in Afghanistan.

the reputation of the leading northern independent

However, he wants his work in education to take precedence.

school. “I do come from a military background. When my father left Mr Hart has worked in education for 14 years and joined

the Royal Air Force, he went to work at Tonbridge School

from Winchester College in Hampshire where he held roles

and it inspired me to look at education seriously. I quickly

as a teacher of physics, Housemaster, Director of Sport and

realised it was a very worthwhile career. Many of my skills

Contingent Commander of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF).

complemented it, and with a good degree behind me, it felt like a very good fit.

He has wasted no time in getting to know the strengths of the school, staff and students, and said: “It’s clear I have a

“I feel what I’ve done and what I’m doing now in education is

superb team around me and I already have no doubts that

important and what I want to be known for. I’ve a full range

this is an excellent place of learning. I am certainly starting

of pastoral, academic and co-curricular experience, and that

from a position of strength. The senior leadership is incredibly

sense of helping a child to become a grounded, all-round

capable and supportive, there are strong relationships

person, building their confidence and developing their

between the pupils and staff which is reflected in the

individual abilities is incredibly rewarding.

positive atmosphere, and the academic and extra-curricular opportunities are excellent. But I don’t think it’s enough to just

“It fits really well with Giggleswick’s ethos of participation,

keep that going. I want to build on those strengths and I am

ambition and respect. We recognise that every child is

confident I can take the school forward even further. I want

different, and we want to give them the opportunity to

everyone to know where Giggleswick is, the wonderful school

develop their strengths, find out about themselves and strive

we’ve created here and our reputation for excellence.”

for excellence. Academic achievement is an absolute priority, but equally important is our curriculum for life and preparing

Through his experiences at Winchester, Mr Hart believes the

them for when they go out into the world, be it to university

pastoral care offered to children is one of the most important

or the workplace.”

factors in running a school, particularly for boarders, and this was something that attracted him to Giggleswick. “As a housemaster, I was responsible for the pastoral care of 63 boys, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Keeping them safe, happy and feeling they belonged and were part of something was key. It was like a family, and I learned a lot about the importance of the all-round care of a child.”


LEYS DEBATE TEAM WINS REGIONAL COMPETITION A team of sixth-form pupils from The Leys School,

Mr Alex Laing has started his role as the new Director

Cambridge was named regional winner of this year’s

of Music at Wells Cathedral School. Alex was previously

‘Youth Speaks’, the Rotary Club Youth Public Speaking

Artistic Director (Music) at King’s High School, Warwick

competition. The competition has been run by the

and Warwick Preparatory School. He is also well

Rotary Club since 1988 and provides the opportunity

known as a conductor and coach for national level

for teams to build their confidence and ambition.

ensembles including the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain and the Benedetti Foundation. Alex

The winning team comprised of Ellie M, Sienna H and Georgia

was previously Head of Strings at Uppingham School,

D. The girls were required to deliver a 15-minute presentation

and has been a violin teacher, coach and conductor at

on why the institution of marriage is outdated, competing

the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music.

against strong teams from St Albans Girls’ School and

He studied Music at Cambridge University (where

Stamford High School. The girls’ victory follows their success

he held a prestigious instrumental award as well as

in the district finals against teams from St Joseph’s College,

being a choral scholar) and the Royal Birmingham

Ipswich and The Perse.

Conservatoire. Miss Garrett, Head of English at The Leys, commented: “We Alex Laing says: “I am delighted and privileged to be joining

are so proud of the team, who retained the same winning

this wonderful and unique school where music is at the

formula of eloquence, humour and teamwork as they have

centre of life. The buzz at Wells Cathedral School is palpable

done throughout the competition. They saved their best

and I look forward to supporting, sharing and celebrating

performance for the final and the way they worked with one

music with everyone there from the youngest pupil to the

another in answering questions was a remarkable feat of

most senior instrumentalist and the world class Cathedral

collaboration. The other teams were by far the strongest we

choristers. It is a dream job.”

had faced, and I think we were all aware that getting this far in the competition was a remarkable achievement in itself.

Wells Cathedral School Head Master Alastair Tighe says:

Nevertheless, when The Leys were announced victorious,

“It was heartening for us as a school to see this wonderful

our team and the parents supporting them were absolutely

opportunity to attract such a high calibre field. Alex shone

thrilled. It is a shame that the national finals have been

at every level, not just because of his extensive experience

cancelled, as the next round would have been held at the

and reputation, but also because of the creative, fresh and

NEC in Birmingham, which would have been a wonderful

dynamic outlook he presented. Alex’s vision for our world-

experience for them, but the team will now remain unbeaten

class specialist music provision alongside our chorister and

and should be incredibly proud of their achievements.”

‘music for all’ opportunities was engaging and compelling, and he demonstrated a real passion for, and understanding of, all that we are uniquely placed to offer here at Wells. I very much look forward to working with him as he builds on the work of his predecessors, most recently Mark Stringer, and alongside our team of outstanding music experts in all fields. This is an exciting appointment for the whole school.”



2022 | Open days

Sixth Form Open Evening | 22nd September Prep School Open Day | 8th October College Open Day | 15th October Scholarship sittings start in November 2022 A leading Catholic co-educational boarding and day school for pupils aged 3-18 years, set in 1000 acres of beautiful countryside. Only two hours from London & one hour from regional international airports.


that they can be.






United Kingdom School of the Decade THE SUNDAY TIMES


19/05/2022 14:32


Post-GCSE courses for Dauntsey’s pupils Pupils from Dauntsey’s, who have now completed their GCSEs, are being kept busy with a range of non-curriculum courses thanks to the school’s extensive post-GCSE activity programme. The range of courses this year includes: Lifeguarding, Emergency First Aid and Rescue, Cookery, Sewing, a Jurassic Adventure, the Dauntsey’s Leadership Academy and the Jolie Brise Life Skills course. These courses run during the week after the last GCSE examination and are open to all Fifth Formers. Each option is designed to provide pupils with specific life skills; some of these are practical, like CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) or cooking, others will affect many areas of their lives, such as teamwork and leadership. Above all, they are designed to be fun. Mark Lascelles, Head Master, Dauntsey’s, said:

“The pupils have worked incredibly hard in the run up to, and during, the GCSEs. Understandably they don’t want to go straight back into the classroom having completed their exams. “As soon as the exams finished, we offered pupils courses that were both fun and useful. The intention is to give them some practical life skills as well as providing a welcome contrast after the intensity of the exam period.”

Students from Dauntsey’s enjoying post-GCSE activities

AUTUMN 2022 / 13

An Adventurous Education BOARDING & DAY SCHOOL CO-EDUCATIONAL 11-18

OPEN MORNING 8 October 2022 6 May 2023

‘Photo with kind permission of Gordon’s School


What about boarding schools?

Barnaby Lenon Headmaster, Harrow School, 1999–2011 and Chairman, Independent Schools Council (ISC)

Boarding schools continue to be popular

three in ten of all pupils. For junior pupils

helps to keep down the fees paid by parents

in the twenty-first century, offering

this proportion is significantly lower, with

and can be used to fund transformational

exceptional education and extra-

only 2 per cent of pupils boarding.

bursaries at the school. In return, the British

curricular activities with round-theclock pastoral care.

school provides advice and monitors the

International pupils bring a global

franchise school in a way which guarantees

perspective to our schools and enrich the


The 2022 ISC Census shows that 69,937

community. The 2022 ISC Census shows

pupils were registered to board at any point

there are 25,079 non-British pupils at ISC

In 2021, average fee increases were 1.7 per

during the 2021–22 academic year. Overall,

schools whose parents live overseas. Pupils

cent. A total of 179,768 pupils now receive

441 schools, representing 32 per cent of all

from Hong Kong comprise the largest group

help with their fees, representing 35 per cent

ISC schools, have some boarding pupils.

in this category, with 5,845 pupils.

of all pupils. The value of this help totals over

Parents are able to choose between different

The parents of these pupils choose British

types of boarding to suit their child. Although

schools because they are keen for their

full boarding remains most popular overall,

children to master the English language,

the pattern appears to be changing with

they understand the significance of extra-

weekly and flexi boarding becoming more

curricular activities as part of a wide

popular. In 2016, 15.7 per cent of boarders

education, and they know attending a

were weekly or flexi boarders. In 2022, the

British school may be the best way to gain

figure is 22.8 per cent. Many working parents

admission to a British university.

£1.1 billion, an increase of 4.3 per cent on

value the flexibility of these boarding options.

the previous year.

WIDENING ACCESS This reflects the long-term aim of our schools to increase bursary provision and widen access. Over the last 15 years, there has been a consistent trend of schools providing increasing amounts of fee assistance to pupils.

Some boarding and day schools have set There are variations between different age

up franchise schools abroad. While I was

More than 40,000 pupils receive means-

groups. For the sector as a whole, 12 per

headmaster at Harrow, we built schools

tested bursaries, valued at £480 million in

cent of pupils at ISC schools board. At sixth

in Thailand, Beijing and Hong Kong. These

2021. The average bursary is worth £10,840

form this proportion more than doubles to

schools pay a fee to the British school which

per pupil per year.



ADVANTAGES OF BOARDING Boarding schools have many advantages: • They are able to offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities to a high proportion of pupils because more time is spent by pupils on the school grounds. They also tend to attract staff who want to be involved in sport, music or drama at a high level.

• Boarding schools take pupils from all

over the country and all over the world. This is a valuable educational experience in itself: the opportunity to know people from many walks of life and from many different cultures.

• And of course, boarders do not have to travel to school, something which can be challenging in some parts of the country.

THINGS TO CONSIDER The boarding environment is positive and fun, but remember:

Choosing to board is a personal decision for parents to make with their child – and with support and advice from their chosen school. Every school is different and details of individual schools can be found on their websites, or through the Independent Schools Council (ISC) website.

WHAT IS THE ISC? The ISC is a membership organisation that brings together seven education associations and works on behalf of more than 1,390 independent fee-charging schools in the United Kingdom, which educate more than 500,000 children every year. The ISC has three main functions, covering policy and public affairs, media and communications, and research and data. The aim of the ISC is to be a service organisation, promoting and protecting the independent education sector.

Boarding houses can be noisy places full of other children.

• Being away from home will be a new

Importantly for our members, the ISC provides a central base in London where all

experience for children and their

types of independent schools (prep schools,


mixed and single-sex, academically selective

• Boarding requires substantial investment.

and non-selective, day and boarding) can

However, overall more than a third of ISC

come together to discuss issues of common

school pupils receive help with their fees.

interest. Parents can find information about all ISC schools at

Outstanding facilities, an all-round education and endless opportunities await you at The Duke of York’s Royal Military School. Our full-boarding school, open to 11–18-year-olds, is placed in the top 2% of schools nationally for GCSE progress. Students benefit from excellent teaching delivered by managers and leaders rated Outstanding by Ofsted (2018). | | 01304 245023

Barnaby Lenon won the Cambridge University Prize for Education, taught at Eton for 12 years, was Deputy Head of Highgate School, Headmaster of Trinity School Croydon and Head of Harrow (12 years). For eight years he was the founding chair of the London Academy of Excellence, a state free school in East London. He has been a governor of 22 schools and is a trustee of the 12 independent and state schools in the King Edward’s Birmingham Foundation. For six years he was on the board of Ofqual. He is Professor of Education at the University of Buckingham, Chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) and a trustee of the charity Yellow Submarine. He has published two books, Much Promise: successful schools in England and Other People’s Children: what happens to the academically least successful 50%? He is one of the most widely quoted educationalists in the media. In 2019, he was awarded a CBE for services to education.


boarding school? What makes a good boarding school? Visiting a school certainly gives you a sense of the atmosphere, grounds and local area and you should try to visit if possible. I always think choosing a school is like buying a new house – you may not immediately know you want it but you usually know if you don’t want it within the first few minutes of walking in!

Barney Durrant Head, St Lawrence College On a visit to a prospective school, look at the way pupils treat each other and the staff – and by this, I mean all staff whether they are the Head or Head Groundsperson. Look at how the staff treat the pupils and the relationships pupils have with each other. Are the classrooms vibrant, energetic and pupil-focused? Are the pupils clearly enjoying stimulating and active lessons? Are the boarding houses warm, friendly and welcoming? Is there an obvious pride in the appearance of the school and the way in which the grounds and buildings are looked after and presented? These are some of the questions I ask myself when walking around a school and they give a good insight into the school’s values and ethos. In any good school, pupils should be able to achieve their academic potential, and it should be a given that

the value-added scores for all boarding pupils are significantly higher than the national average. The smaller class sizes, individualised approach and careful monitoring by tutors and housemasters and housemistresses in the evenings ensure pupils are supported and well taught. However, a good boarding school will do much more than this. It will inspire pupils’ love of learning, develop their creativity of thought and give them opportunities to develop independence in their education and more generally in their lives. Good boarding schools see the academic side of the school as not just a discrete stage in an education on the way to university, but as part of the educational journey that continues for the rest of a pupil’s life. A boarding education gives pupils the skills and attributes they need to thrive at university and in the twenty-first century world.

AUTUMN 2022 / 17

Sixth Form Open Evening

Wednesday 28 September - Register now

Senior School Open Morning

Saturday 1 October - Register now

Renowned for our warm and welcoming boarding community, Kingswood offers an exceptional education of depth and breadth. Choosing from a wide range of enrichment opportunities, our students achieve outstanding results, with over 90% receiving offers to their first choice university.

Visit us to find out more.

An Independent Co-educational Boarding & Day School for pupils aged 9 months - 18 years

A co-educational independent school for nine months – 18 years in Bath

LIFELONG LEARNERS A key outcome of a good education is the development of lifelong learners. This means developing a mindset that we can always do better and creating a desire to improve our skills, attributes and approach to solving problems and overcoming obstacles. Genuinely producing lifelong learners is not simply about cramming for exams and teaching to the test. It is about inspiring pupils, enthusing them to work independently and empowering them to question, be self-critical and stand up for what they believe in.

of support when needed. Learning how

A good boarding school ensures pupils feel

to accept defeat – and also learning how

valued and an integral part of their school

to win magnanimously – is taught through

community, with an understanding of their

co-curricular programmes. Team sports

role in the local and global community

develop camaraderie, leadership, teamwork

and a wide perspective on their individual

and communication but a good boarding

responsibility to society. This comes partly

school also has a broad programme of

from the charity and service opportunities in

activities in the evenings and weekends,

the school, but also from living in a diverse

catering for all pupils. This gives pupils

pupil population. Living in a boarding house

Another essential element of a good

opportunities to thrive in all areas, not just

encourages tolerance and an appreciation

boarding school is the excellent pastoral

on the sports field. Expressing yourself

of difference. It allows pupils to develop

care provided by the ‘school family’. As well

creatively is an important part of any holistic

their emotional intelligence and to recognise

as being in smaller class sizes, boarders

education and so opportunities for art,

when others need support or are struggling

receive pastoral support from housemasters

music and drama are in abundance. Not all

– the bonds of friendship developed during

and housemistresses, tutors, the school

pupils want a starring or lead role, so you

boarding can last a lifetime. Soft skills are

chaplain, counsellors and the medical team,

may also look for opportunities offered in,

developed both explicitly and implicitly and

all working together to ensure that every

for example, scriptwriting, filmmaking and

these give boarding pupils a real advantage

individual pupil is known, appreciated,

sound and lighting.

in the future – in their personal and public

supported and developed.


Children must be given opportunities to stretch themselves, be independent and fail – the last being a really important element of education. In a good boarding school, pupils can do this in a safe and nurturing environment that can provide a high level

Barney Durrant became Head of St Lawrence College in 2020, arriving from the new Harrow Hong Kong school, where he established the pastoral structures and systems as Principal Deputy Head. Before that he was a Housemaster and Head of Geography at Stowe School. Both he and his wife started boarding at the age of seven – as his parents worked in Development and his wife’s father was in the Gurkhas. Having both travelled a lot when younger, they appreciated, and fully understand, the importance of stability throughout their educational careers and Barney aims to provide that at St Lawrence College (where all three of his children attend).

AUTUMN 2022 / 19

Don’t just imagine a future at Freemen’s, experience it. Enjoy our 360 virtual tour at To find out more about boarding places for pupils aged 13-18, email In the 2022 The Sunday Times Parent Power league table, Freemen’s ranks 14th in the UK amongst co-educational independent schools for results at GCSE. Known for academic excellence, Freemen’s is a day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 7-18. Set in 57 acres of beautiful Surrey countryside, we are just 30 minutes from London and only 40 minutes from both Gatwick and Heathrow airports.



CALL US ON + 44 (0)1372 822423

Inspections of accredited independent boarding schools Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) All English accredited independent

Assuming the school meets the minimum

of the boarding experience for the more

boarding schools are inspected twice

standards and no immediate action

than 75,000 boarders in independent and

during a six-year cycle. If the boarding

is required, or unless the Department

state boarding schools.

school is in membership of one of the

for Education (DfE) has commissioned

five independent school associations

an additional inspection, the next ISI

These improvements have been recognised

(GSA, HMC, IAPS, ISA, Society of Heads)

inspection experience for a boarding

by the Government, so much so that the

and thus accredited by its association,

school in the cycle will be a Focused

DfE consulted with boarding schools and

the inspection of boarding is carried

Compliance Inspection (FCI) and an Inspection

boarders on the various updates to the

out by a specialist team of boarding

of Education Quality (EQI). The FCI will

standards which have taken place since

inspectors from the Independent

inspect the boarding provision against


Schools Inspectorate (ISI). If it is

the NMS. Immediately following the FCI,

an independent school, but not a

the EQI will evaluate the quality of the

member of one of those associations

outcomes for pupils. This will evaluate

or is a state boarding school, the

pupils’ achievement and pupils’ personal

inspection of boarding is carried out

development. Educational quality findings

by a specialist team of Ofsted boarding

will be reported against a four-point scale.

inspectors. A small number of ISI-

For boarding provision, the inspection and

inspected schools are classified as

the report will include the contribution of

special schools, which have an annual

boarding to boarders’ achievement and

social care inspection.

their personal development. Full details of this inspection framework can be found

All accredited independent boarding

on the ISI website. ISI will be introducing a

schools are inspected under the ISI

new inspection framework in September

Inspection Framework which came into force

2023. This will be published in spring

in January 2017. Once each cycle, schools

2023 following a consultation process and

will routinely be subject to a Regulatory

piloting in volunteer schools.

NATIONAL BOARDING STANDARDS The 23 National Boarding Standards cover: • Policies, procedures and practice: includes anti-bullying, boarders’ activity programme, boarders’ induction, complaints, confidential counselling and guidance, contact with parents, equal opportunities, guardianship, health and safety, management and leadership, medical care, promoting positive behaviour, role of prefects, boarders’ meals.

People: includes boarding staff supervision, boarders’ privacy,

Compliance Inspection (RCI) which, in terms

recruitment checks on boarding staff,

of boarding, will inspect the boarding

Readers should note that, depending on

relationships between boarders and

provision against Boarding Schools: National

the dates of previous inspections, a FCI-

between boarders and staff, seeking

Minimum Standards (NMS). A new version

EQI inspection might come before a RCI

boarders’ views, leadership and

of the standards has been published

inspection. Schools should prepare for

management of the boarding provision,

and came into force on September

both types. Over the last 20 years, good

the role of educational guardians.

5, 2022: https://assets.publishing.

practice in boarding schools has developed

significantly and schools have responded


positively to national legislation. The effect

accommodation, medical facilities,


of this has been to raise the level of care

recreational facilities, toilet and


and management in boarding schools. This,

washing facilities.


in turn, has supported the improved quality

Premises: includes boarding

Photos with kind permission of St John’s College, Southsea


ISI reports on boarding are sent to all parents of current boarders.

or company. The regulations place the same requirements on

These must also be published on the school’s website. They are

proprietors as they do on governors.

certainly published on the inspectorate’s website (listed at the end of this article). An ISI RCI or FCI report states whether the standards are met or not. An ISI EQI report grades the pupil outcomes using one of four descriptors.

THE ROLE OF GOVERNORS The Government, through the inspectorates, is putting an increasing emphasis on the role of governors in monitoring standards in schools. Part A of the new 2022 standards focuses on governance, leadership and management, with the aim that ‘the leadership, management and governance of the school enables a culture to thrive which is child-centred, safeguards children’s wellbeing and is ambitious for the progress of every child. Monitoring and accountability is strong and adds value’.

CHILD PROTECTION The safeguarding of pupils is a major responsibility of schools and is rightly given emphasis by schools in their procedures and by the ISI and Ofsted in their reports on boarding welfare. The school’s safeguarding of its boarders should be high on parents’ and prospective boarders’ list of questions.

On a boarding inspection, the chair of governors and any other governors with responsibilities for boarding, are interviewed about how they monitor the quality of the boarding provision and the policies and the implementation of policies relating to child protection (safeguarding) and the appointment of staff. As the final responsibility for the management of a school rests with the governing body, the Government needs to be certain governors understand their responsibilities in all areas, but, particularly, the safety and welfare of pupils. Many schools now have designated governors who monitor the quality of boarding life. They must have a governor designated to monitor safeguarding. These governors spend time in the boarding houses, meet regularly with the designated senior lead (child protection officer) and monitor the effectiveness of the recruitment checks on new staff and the quality of the single central register of staff appointments. Some independent schools are proprietorial, i.e. they are not a charitable trust, but instead owned by an individual, group

GET BADMINTON OUR COMMUNITY Whole School Open Day Saturday 1 October 2022 Book your place online now |

There are four key areas in child protection (also known as safeguarding). 1 How can I access the school’s child protection policy? Every school must have a safeguarding (child protection) policy. A review by the full governing body of the school’s child protection policies must take place at least annually, including an update and review of the effectiveness of procedures and their implementation. Schools are also required by the DfE to make this policy freely available to parents and prospective parents on request. If a school has a website, it is required to publish this policy on its website. 2 Who are the school’s child protection officers? The school appoints one or more ‘designated

Photography from St John’s College, Southsea

safeguarding leads’ (DSLs) to be child protection officers. Usually there is a lead

staff is expected to know and understand

DSL and one or more deputies. These DSLs

the key messages from Keeping Children Safe


are required to have training every two

in Education (Part One) and how they apply

For the Boarding Schools: National

years in child protection and inter-agency

to their day-to-day practice. This includes

Minimum Standards go to https://

working. The DSLs in a school take the

knowing the school’s child protection policy

lead responsibility for all child protection

and also knowing the names and contact


issues and liaise with the Local Safeguarding

details (day and night) of the DSLs.

uploads/attachment_data/ file/1078899/From_5_Sept_2022_-_

Children Board (LSCB), the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) for safeguarding

4 What is in the school’s policy


and the local Children’s Services Team. The

concerning reporting child protection


names of the bodies carrying out these roles

allegations to a local safeguarding

may vary according to local arrangements


For the ISI Inspection Framework go

for Safeguarding Partners. The school’s child

It is a requirement that, in any school child


protection/safeguarding policy should explain

protection policy, it is stated that a school

these arrangements.

must communicate immediately with a

For Safeguarding Children and Safer

local safeguarding agency whenever an

Recruitment in Education there are

3 What training do the staff in a school

allegation or disclosure of abuse has been

two government documents:

receive in child protection?

made. It is also a requirement to report to

Keeping Children Safe in Education

The first thing to emphasise is that it is the

the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

(KCSIE) (2022)

responsibility of a school to train all its staff. If

within one month of leaving the school any

a pupil needs to share a confidential matter

person (whether employed, contracted, a


with an adult, he or she does not necessarily

volunteer or student) whose services are no


approach a tutor or a teacher. All staff must

longer used because he or she is considered

Working Together to Safeguard

receive child protection training as part of

unsuitable to work with children.

Children (WTTSC) (2018)

the induction procedures before they start working in the school. This training must be updated regularly, and the expectation is that this is at least annually. Schools consult with their local safeguarding partners to determine the most appropriate schedule, level and focus for training.

BE REASSURED Although abuse incidents are relatively rare, schools should have robust policies and procedures for preventing abuse and for dealing with any incidents which are reported to them.

publications/working-togetherto-safeguard-children--2 For ISI reports go to Reports on boarding welfare will only be found on the ISI website for schools whose boarding

This training covers the categories of abuse

provision has been inspected

(physical, sexual, emotional and neglect), how

since September 2011. For reports

to respond to a pupil who discloses abuse to

before that date, please go to the

a member of staff, and what actions to follow

Ofsted website

after a disclosure. Each member of


AUTUMN 2022 / 23

The Best of Both Worlds Wells is a vibrant city surrounded by stunning countryside

“Excellent all-round education set in fabulous grounds within the beautiful city of Wells.” - Current parent

To arrange a visit: 01749 834441


Ofsted inspection of boarding schools


If a school is not independent, or

Most inspection activity was paused in

not a member of one of the five

2020 as a result of COVID-19, but has now

independent school associations (GSA,


HMC, IAPS, ISA, Society of Heads), it will be inspected by Ofsted.

The evaluation criteria for Ofsted boarding inspections are used to make a

Unless a school requires improvement

judgement of the overall experiences and

or there are immediate concerns, Ofsted

progress of children, taking into account:

inspects boarding once in a three-year cycle under the Social Care Common Inspection Framework (SCCIF): boarding schools and residential special schools.

• •

Dale Wilkins Senior Director, BSA Group

how well children are helped and protected the effectiveness of leaders and managers.

This framework came into use on 1 April 2017, with minor updates most recently in

Details can be found in the framework

1 September 2019 and can be found at:

March 2022.


Inspections of boarding and education

Reports do not comment in any detail on

are fundamentally separate processes.

the Boarding Schools: National Minimum

However, if the scheduled boarding and

Standards (NMS) but will state clearly any

As well as giving a judgement on overall

education inspections of a school fall

which are deemed not to have been met.

effectiveness, inspectors will report on:

within the same year, Ofsted will try to

Schools, and indeed Ofsted, consider

ensure the two inspections are aligned.

the NMS to be a minimum requirement


which schools should aim to exceed More information can be found at:



• • • • •

quality of education behaviour and attitudes personal development leadership and management.


The education provision at the school

The Ofsted report grades both education


will be inspected in the same way as it is

and boarding in four categories:


at any day school which Ofsted inspects,


other than where it has been possible


to align or integrate the inspections as


above. A new framework for inspecting


education provision was launched on

• • • •

Outstanding Good Requires improvement Inadequate.



Prospective parents and boarders who are

considering a state boarding school or an


independent school inspected by Ofsted


should read the school’s most recent

reports, available at: https://reports.




Scotland and Wales have well-established school inspection systems. Details

Education and boarding reports are usually

are available on the BSA website at

listed under separate registration numbers. Both independent

To focus on the boarding element, click on

and state schools in Wales have their

‘Children’s Social Care’ and then check the

education provision inspected by Estyn,

box entitled ‘Residential and boarding’. The

the education and training inspectorate.

education report can normally be found

Boarding schools in Wales have

simply by searching under the name of the

additional residential inspections from


Care Inspectorate Wales, who use the National Minimum Standards for Boarding

There are two government documents

Schools (Wales) as a baseline. In Scotland,

which relate to safeguarding and safer

Education Scotland inspects all education


provision. The Care Inspectorate inspects boarding, using both the Health and Social

Keeping Children Safe in Education (2022)

Care Standards and their own ‘Quality


Framework’. There are also boarding

standards in the Isle of Man, and boarding


schools in Northern Ireland receive


visits from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA). BSA has

Working Together to Safeguard Children

its own set of voluntary accreditation

(2018) (WTTSC) (with minor updates in

standards for schools outside the UK to

December 2020)


Dale Wilkins became a boarding tutor at Norwich School in 1987, shortly after taking up a post there as a language teacher. From 1990 to 1992, he and his wife ran a junior girls’ boarding house at Tettenhall College, before moving to Old Swinford Hospital, a state boarding school where Dale was Housemaster of both senior and junior boys’ houses, Director of Boarding, Deputy Head and Designated Safeguarding Lead. From 1998 he was also involved with BSA as a course tutor and in 2002 he was among the first group of boarding inspectors trained to inspect against the then new NMS. Since 2017 he has worked full-time for BSA, originally as Head of Safeguarding and Standards and now, as Senior Director. Dale lives in Stourbridge in the West Midlands, close to his former school. Dale is also a Deputy District Commissioner for the Scout Association, Chair of Youth Services for the Rotary Club of Stourbridge, and Chair of the Friends of Dudley Performing Arts, the music, art and drama service for schools in Dudley Borough. He enjoys travel (when COVID-19 allows!) and is a former sports coach and referee, who still plays cricket occasionally.

Visit Shrewsbury The Independent School of the Year 2020 Boarding and Day School for Girls and Boys aged 13-18 | 01743 280 552

Start your journey now at: WINNER

Independent School of the Year 2020


Boarding School of the Year

Shrewsbury School - 125mm high x 185mm wide (BSA Service Parents Magazines).indd 1


Community Outreach Award 2020

06/07/2022 15:57


Weekly boarding: great fun and no school run Boarding during the week at a school

and an indoor pool and sports centre.

in the countryside is an opportunity

There’s a dedicated music school too,

for girls and boys to develop important

with a professional auditorium and plenty

life skills and can really take the

of practice rooms, plus a historic theatre

pressure off busy city families, leaving

and a brand new state of the art academic

theweekends free for quality time


together. Felsted school buses collect weekly ‘I speak to a lot of parents who are keen

boarders from across the region on Sunday

to take the stress out of family life but

night and drop them off on Saturday

don’t want their children to miss out

afternoon in term-time. In between, their

on all the activities they enjoy – sports

home away from home is one of Felsted’s

clubs, music lessons, drama groups, for

eight boarding houses, each one furnished

example, and being with their friends,’ says

with comfortable sofas, beanbags and

George Masters, Deputy Head at Felsted, a

cushions with televisions and games

boarding and day school for girls and boys

consoles, pool or table tennis tables and

aged four to 18 in north Essex. ‘Weekly

other fun equipment.

boarding can be the answer. The time usually spent on the school commute can

‘It’s important that the boarding houses are

instead be invested into schoolwork, as well

relaxing places to be – boarders’ wellbeing

as enjoying their interests in the company

is the top priority and every house has full-

of other students from around the world

time houseparents as well as a fully-staffed

in a very safe and beautifully spacious

medical facility and wellbeing centre’ says

environment.’ Felsted’s 90-acre rural


campus is set in idyllic countryside just 40 miles from London, with rugby, cricket and

To find out more about boarding at Felsted,

hockey pitches, tennis and netball courts,

please visit

Boarding from a Houseparent Boarding schools have come a long way since the tales of cold showers, uncaring staff and dormitories lined with homesick children. Now the emphasis is on patience and guidance as students navigate social interactions and meeting the high expectations of a new school while being away from home for the first time and living with 30 other peers. Indeed students today often describe their boarding school as a ‘home from home’ or ‘one big sleepover’ where not only can they flourish academically but also learn tolerance, resilience, discipline and independence, while

with in-person meetings or Zoom calls

In the early stages the children are kept

with parents to try and glean as much

busy with many activities. If they’re playing

information about their child so they

rounders then they won’t be feeling

can be helped to settle in as quickly as

homesick! However, it is always going to


crop up, usually at bedtime. Then they come downstairs and are on the sofa with hot

making life-long friends.

Parents meanwhile, can help prepare their

chocolate and talking it through. They also

children by increasing their independence

support each other in their bunk beds early

Evenings and weekends are packed with

and encouraging practical tasks and chores

on – that is how they develop those lasting

such as making their own bed.

friendship bonds.

activities, and as well as large grounds and facilities, children can enjoy the company

The boarding house is run as an extension

Sam and

of Sam and Daisy Cooper’s home – the

Daisy Cooper,

older sibling figures.

kitchen door is always open and their

Houseparents of

children and dog running around.

Woolwich House.

At Gordon’s, the boarding journey begins

Saturday morning pancakes in their

Sam Cooper is also

kitchen is a weekly treat! Students feel

Head of Boarding at

comfortable, safe and secure – it’s their

Gordon’s School, Tes

term time home and their aim is to make

Boarding School of

them feel that way.

the Year 2022.

of hundreds of others every day and weekend, with senior students becoming

in Year 7 in the bespoke junior family-run boarding house. Woolwich Houseparents Sam and Daisy Cooper get to know their new charges months before their arrival


Boarding at Felsted Leading all-round education with pupil wellbeing at its heart. Give your child the space to thrive with our variety of modern boarding options. Based on a safe rural campus just one hour from London.

Book your visit and find out more at Developing character, making a difference. Co-educational, ages 4-18, boarding & day. #FelstedFamily

Felsted-School-Advert-Artwork-2022-Half-Page.indd 1

25/07/2022 13:31:49


Years 7, 9 and 12 boarding places available. ‘Students who attend the boarding school provision exceed their predicted outcomes and consistently reach, and further, their potential’ OFSTED BOARDING INSPECTION REPORT 2019



For Open Events please visit our website

The importance of good governance

Graham Able Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus

Many parents do not research closely the composition of the governing board when they are considering a school for their child. Yet the role of governors is critical to the success of a school. In most independent schools, the

are common to most schools – they allow

talent but there should also be some

governing board appoints the Head and

governors with particular expertise to

‘outside’ influence on the board to ensure

will have a major input to the appointment

look and advise in more detail in specialist

it does not become too inward-looking.

of the Bursar or equivalent. These

areas. If the governing body is functioning

appointments are key to the school’s

well, the work of these committees will

The best boards will have defined terms

performance, both academically and in

make full board meetings more focused

which governors may serve and will

terms of financial viability. Prospective

and effective.

take care in succession planning. Most boards are probably too large and, like

parents should satisfy themselves that the school is likely to deliver a good

The range of expertise needed on a

turkeys at Christmas, are disinclined

education appropriate to their child and

governing body will vary a little according

to vote for their own culling. No school

remain financially viable. Governors are

to the type and age-range of school, but all

needs more than 12 governors and 14

also responsible for agreeing the school

schools will need governors with specialist

is certainly too many. The largest boards

budget, determining the salaries of the

knowledge of finance and business, law,

often contain governors nominated by

Head and Bursar and setting fees; this

property, marketing and education. It is

groups associated with the school. These

latter function is of definite interest to

also important for some governors to

nominees may not cover the range of

most parents! In a boarding context, it is

be in touch with the local community.

desired skills so the board has expanded

particularly important to note governors

Whereas it is relevant for prep and senior

in order to address this. Governors

are also ultimately responsible for

schools to have someone with school

must keep up to date with all regulatory

safeguarding and health and safety.

headship experience on the board, a

changes and ensure safeguarding and

senior school will additionally benefit from

health and safety matters are regularly

The nature of governance has changed

a governor with university connections.

addressed. So it is important for governing

considerably over the last 30 years. The

In many boarding schools, one governor

bodies to ensure they receive sufficient

role of governors was once just to appoint

will have a special responsibility for

training where appropriate.

the Head and give general support. They

liaison with the boarding houses, and it is

are now better described as a board of

helpful if this person has some relevant

Governance is judged as part of the

specialist non-executive directors helping

experience of boarding education.

Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) or Ofsted inspection process. Governing

to run a mid-sized company with the Head as chief executive and the Bursar or Business Manager as finance director.

‘CRITICAL FRIENDS’ Governors need to act as ‘critical friends’ to their ‘chief executive’ and to do so effectively they need to be well-informed and with sufficient experience and knowledge between them to ask the right questions and interrogate the responses thoroughly. To monitor the progress of the school, governors need to take time to observe lessons and activities and to attend school functions outside their termly board and committee meetings. They should be visible but careful not to cross the line between non-executive and executive functions. The number of governors’ committees will vary from school to school. Finance, property/ development and academic committees

PARENTS AS GOVERNORS Opinions vary about parents as governors. I have always favoured having a current parent on the board, but one elected by the board for his or her expertise rather than a ‘representative’ parent governor elected by the PTA. The latter approach looks very democratic but tends to produce governors with a specific agenda – and possibly without any of the desired specialist skills – and this may not be in the best interests of the school as a whole. It is important governing boards do not become self-perpetuating oligarchies. There should be clear criteria for the appointment of a new governor and a desired skill set agreed before the board seeks suitable candidates. The alumni and parent (past and present) body will provide a rich source of appropriate

boards which cannot demonstrate a good knowledge of their schools and a proper contribution to strategic decisions are likely to be downgraded and criticised in the inspection report. Most schools now list their governors with details of their specialisms on the school website, so, when considering a school, it is certainly worth taking the time to check their credentials and assess their suitability to govern. Graham Able has spent 40 years in independent schools, the last 22 as Headmaster of Hampton School and then Master of Dulwich College. After retiring from Dulwich he was appointed Chief Executive of the Alpha Plus Group, stepping down from this role in 2014 since when he has been Group Deputy Chairman. Having previously served on the governing bodies of Roedean and Imperial College, he was a governor of Gresham’s School from 2013 to 2020 and is a governor of Beeston Hall, where he was once a pupil and is now Vice-Chairman. A former chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), he has advised governing boards on their structure and effectiveness.



Boarding in the heart of London

16+ ENTRY 2024

To request a prospectus or find out about Open Days, please call 020 7963 1003 or email


For information about entry to Westminster Under School at 7+, 8+ or 11+ please call 020 7821 5788.

Online registration opens in June 2023. Registration now open for 2026.

Westminster School is a charity (No. 312728) established to provide education.

TAP5098_BSA_As_125mmWx85mmH_V1.indd 1

21/07/2022 21:26

A flourishing boarding community 100 prep boarders aged 7 -13 and 480 senior boarders REGI

Open Mornings Prep School for ages 7 - 13

Founded 1553

Saturday, 24th September

A strong House and tutor system to look after your child’s pastoral and academic wellbeing

Senior School for ages 13 - 18

An outstanding range of extra-curricular activities

Saturday, 8th October

Day and Boarding, 1090 pupils aged 13 - 18 720 pupils aged 2 - 13

Individual visits welcome

Boarding from ages 7 to 18


Contact Admissions for more information

01527 579679 •




Photo with kind permission of Ludgrove School

Dale Wilkins Senior Director, BSA Group


Our work is centred on the requirements

we are better able to help them benchmark

(BSA) is committed to supporting

of the relevant Boarding Schools: National

their boarding against the expectations

Minimum Standards (NMS), which in

across the wider boarding sector, both in

England have been extensively revised for

the UK and internationally.

everyone involved in boarding – adults and children – offering high

September 2022, this being the first revision

quality guidance and training that

for seven years. Standards in Wales are

At the heart of the BSA Academy offer

benefits schools, their staff and,

likely to be reviewed soon, and in Scotland

are core skills for all those working in

the provisions of the Health and Social Care

boarding, including those new to residential

Standards have a similar focus. BSA has its

settings as well as established practitioners.

own voluntary set of standards for schools

BSA Group offers boarding staff more

elsewhere, with the focus of all these

specialised seminars on a wide range

guidelines being on ensuring there is a high

of specific issues, particularly relating to

quality of care for every child attending a

safeguarding, through both BSA and our

boarding school, whether as a full boarder,

sister organisations, the Safeguarding and

weekly or flexi. However, these are only a

Child Protection Association (Sacpa) and

starting point, with member schools aiming

the Health in Education Association (Hieda).

for excellence across a range of key areas

A number of day conferences are also run

relating to the day-to-day experiences

throughout the year for heads and for other

of boarders. By working together with

boarding practitioners, as well as those

colleagues from a wide range of schools,

looking at specific issues such as mental

perhaps most importantly, the children and young people who board. Our primary objective is to raise professional standards and we have an extensive and diverse continuing professional development (CPD) and training programme through the BSA Academy for all staff working in boarding environments throughout the UK and beyond.

Photo by Bonjour School Photography with kind permission of St Andrew’s Prep


health, immigration and safeguarding. Specific training content is also designed to meet the needs of prep schools, senior schools, state schools, sixth-form boarding and international colleges. Most of this content is now online, and is accessible internationally, although a small number of face-to-face events are being reintroduced. Alongside our day conferences and seminars, we run an accredited training programme, offering certification to boarding practitioners. At its core is the BSA Advanced Certificate Course. Based over two years, this course looks more deeply into Pastoral Care (Part 1) and then Boarding Management (Part 2) or Health & Development (Part 2), including specialised courses for school nurses and school matrons. The courses are led by the BSA team, supported by very experienced

We also run a guidance helpline, receiving

tutors from member schools and specialist

calls and emails on a wide variety of topics

presenters who cover online safety, mental

from member schools, and helping them

health, strategic management and other

deal with compliance issues and move

issues critical to working in boarding. In

towards best practice. A Member Services

the last few months bespoke certificate

team focuses on ensuring that we are

programmes have been introduced to

best placed to support the whole range

focus on mental health and also on equity,

of members, from schools which are

diversity and inclusion.

exclusively boarding to schools with just a few boarders. This is enhanced by our

We also run the BSA Diploma Course

regional Forum meetings in all parts of the

twice a year for current and aspiring

UK and internationally. Every child who goes

boarding leaders, and the very popular

to boarding school deserves the very best

Certificate in International Boarding. There

of care and support, and BSA Group is fully

is also a Masters in Residential Education

committed to ensuring our member schools

in conjunction with the University of

have the best resources to help them to

Buckingham. An expanding INSET and

provide this.

consultancy programme enables further spread around the UK and into Europe and beyond. We are constantly seeking new areas of interest and responding to the needs of the sector. Our safeguarding portfolio continues to grow, and we deliver bespoke content focused on the boarding environment through webinars and day


Dale Wilkins became a boarding tutor at Norwich School in 1987, shortly after taking up a post there as a language teacher. From 1990 to 1992, he and his wife ran a junior girls’ boarding house at Tettenhall College, before moving to Old Swinford Hospital, a state boarding school where Dale was Housemaster of both senior and junior boys’ houses, Senior Director of Boarding, Deputy Head and Designated Safeguarding Lead. From 1998 he was also involved with BSA as a course tutor and in 2002 he was among the first group of boarding inspectors trained to inspect against the then new NMS. Since 2017 he has worked full-time for BSA, originally as Head of Safeguarding and Standards and now, as Senior Director. Dale lives in Stourbridge in the West Midlands, close to his former school. Dale is also a Deputy District Commissioner for the Scout Association, Chair of Youth Services for the Rotary Club of Stourbridge, and Chair of the Friends of Dudley Performing Arts, the music, art and drama service for schools in Dudley Borough. He enjoys travel (when COVID-19 allows!) and is a former sports coach and referee, who still plays cricket occasionally.

Part of the BSA Group

seminars. In 2022 we are launching a Safeguarding Certificate in conjunction with Sacpa.


Part of the BSA Group



Adrian Underwood Education Consultant

School visits: questions and answers School visits can take many forms. They can involve meeting the Head or perhaps attending an open day. Whatever the format, the first meeting is crucial so if possible always try to visit a school on a normal day. If it goes well, follow it up with an open day visit. Further visits can then be

prospective boarders and their families and boarders enjoy talking about their school and their house. Here are some useful

boarders should have the opportunity to stay overnight.

The initial look round is absolutely vital. It is where a parent and their child start to assess whether they fit the environment (and whether it fits them). It is where

prospective parents and boarders decide whether they like the location, the ‘buzz’ and the Head. Open days can involve a

talk about the school, usually by the Head,

and the International Baccalaureate,

the boarding school’s website, prospectus

but smaller ones will find this more

and accompanying information did not cover

difficult and expensive. Schools may

everything you wanted.

also offer the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma (being withdrawn from 2023 with a

The list is not exhaustive: use it as a guide

last resit available in June 2024) or the

and adapt the questions to your own

Advanced Diploma. Most schools will be

requirements – you will have to be selective,

attempting to broaden their sixth-form

given the relatively short time available.

curriculum, introducing more skills-

Covered in this list are:

based courses.

• • • • • • •

academic issues rules and regulations boarding life and pastoral care financial issues

and current boarders, and then current boarders lead a tour of the school.

All this should be followed by an opportunity to ask any further questions.

As a prospective parent visiting a boarding

school with your child, you should have the

opportunity to spend time with the Head, a boarding housemaster/housemistress and some boarders. Above all, set out to enjoy your visit. You will find the vast majority of boarding schools enjoy welcoming

Q: How has the school addressed the examination reforms? A: GCSEs and A levels have been reformed

the governing board

introducing linear programmes


with examinations at the end of

after your visit.

two years. The standalone one-year

sometimes hands-on classes for prospective boarders while parents chat to senior staff

curriculum? A: Larger schools may offer both A levels

questions to ask, particularly if you found

Q arranged; for example, potential

Q: How do you organise your 14 to 19

ACADEMIC ISSUES Q: What are the entry requirements? Is our child likely to obtain a place, and when? A: This is a crucial initial administrative matter. Remember the majority of places available will be for the main ages of entry: normally at 7, 8 and 11 for a prep school and at 11, 13 and 16 for a senior school. You need to know whether to have alternative schools lined up, and at what age the school recommends entry and has places available.

AS qualification no longer counts towards the full A level. In the National Curriculum, mathematics focuses on problem solving and mental arithmetic and English on producing good quality written communication and comprehension of a range of texts including those from our English literary heritage. Schools should be able to explain how they have approached these reforms.


Steyning Grammar School

The missing piece since 1614 Day & Boarding | No Tuition Fees | Full and Weekly Options OPEN DAYS: 8th October & 5th November 2022. 25th February & 13th May 2023. FORCES DISCOUNT AVAILABLE

A Leading Independent Boarding & Day School for Girls Aged 11-18 Contact:

% 01249 857200

State boarding schools provide free tuition with modest fees for boarding. At Steyning, our Ofsted Outstanding boarding, offers a safe and homely environment to develop independence, build life-long friendships and enable every student to be the best they can be. Admissions for our state boarding are open with entry at Year 9 and Sixth Form College. | 01903 817601

Q: Can we see your sixth-form examination

Q: What is the school’s policy on careers

its health and safety and disciplinary

results and GCSE/standard grade results

education and applications to further

policies, to look into the medical and

for the past three years? Also, can we

and higher education, and with which

counselling services available, to discover

see details of the school’s position in the

professions does it have particularly

what happens if serious offences are

league tables and the number of places

strong links?

committed, and to find out on what grounds

obtained at Oxbridge (the Universities

A: Good careers advice is an essential part of

a pupil may be temporarily or permanently

of Oxford and Cambridge) and at other

education. Providing advice is a crucial role

excluded, and when this last happened.


for the school. Careers departments should

You should feel matters would be dealt with

have an established local support network

consistently, sympathetically but firmly, and,

caution, as they do not give a rounded

of contacts in the main professions, who

above all, fairly.

picture of the school’s real success or

are able and willing to pass on the benefits

failure in enabling pupils to reach their full

of their experience. Again, a list of recent

potential. IGCSEs are no longer included in

leavers’ university places will provide a

the UK Government’s school performance

valuable indicator of the school’s strengths

tables and so the tables do not reflect

and successes.

A: League tables need to be treated with

IGCSE performance. The annual tables, or better still the subject and pupil point score averages over the past three years, can be used to identify trends within a school, and most schools accept that these tables are used for obtaining comparisons. All the information should be available in a form

RULES AND REGULATIONS Q: What are the key rules for boarders in the houses? A: A question for the boarding staff, as this is aimed at finding out as much as possible about the regime of the boarding house.

that is understandable and helpful. These, the Oxbridge results and the list of university

Q: What is the weekend programme for

entrants will give you an indication of pupils’

boarders and what activities are on

attainment and progress, particularly with


reference to those at the top of the ability

BOARDING LIFE AND PASTORAL CARE Q: How can I be confident my child’s interests are protected at all times? A: Schools are subject to rigorous child welfare legislation, regulation and inspection, which is entirely right and proper. The interests of the child are at the heart of a boarding education. All schools are required to have a Safeguarding (Child Protection) Policy and all staff should receive regular training in safeguarding. The school’s latest inspection report should provide further details.

A: A question for the boarding staff, as this is

Q: How does the school work with children who are shunned by their peers? A: The school should be able to identify these

range and will illustrate the school’s success

aimed at finding out as much as possible

children at a very early stage. Schools

at helping pupils realise their academic

about what boarders can do at weekends

should explain the measures they take to

potential. Please note that during the

and the school’s ability to offer wider

deal with this. Schools should provide high

COVID-19 pandemic, schools marked the

cultural and social opportunities for its

quality pastoral care and support to all

public examinations and these results were

boarders. If the school does not have lessons


moderated by the examination boards. This

on Saturday morning and does not have a

means there is no national data for public

co-curricular programme on a Saturday, it

examinations in 2020, 2021 or summer

is important to find out what the boarding


programme is from Friday after school until

Q: How does the school approach

many problems immediately. Knowing

staying in the house over a typical weekend.

who that is and developing confidence in

& and information and communication

technology (ICT) for the most and least able students?

see if there is a problem? A: The right member of staff can deal with

Sunday evening. Also, do ask about numbers the teaching of English, sciences,

mathematics, modern languages,

Q: Who is the first staff member we should

Q: What is the school’s policy on use of the internet and mobile phones?

A: You should feel confident the school has

them is very important. Most boarding schools have very good pastoral care and counselling systems and knowing how these operate is very important. This question will

realistic and sensible policies in place to

also allow parents to find out how well the

monitor internet usage. Similarly, mobile

school communicates with parents, and

be at either end of the ability range. It is

phones can be useful, not least as a means

what opportunities there are for visits to the

important to know how a school responds

of keeping in touch with parents, so long as

school to meet your child’s housemaster/

to individual abilities and needs. It is also

rules on their use and security are in place

housemistress, teachers and other parents.

important to find out how subjects fit into

and put into practice. Also, find out whether

a broad, well-balanced curriculum, and

boarders must hand in their devices when

Q: What are the bathroom facilities like?

how essential study skills, particularly in

they go to bed to ensure good sleep routines.

A: Boarding house bathrooms range from

A: These are key subjects, and your child could

information and communication technology (ICT), are being developed and integrated.

Q: Our child has a particular interest in

sport/music/drama/art. How will the school get the best out of them?

A: This question is aimed at finding out which

Q: What are the school’s policies on

individual ensuite arrangements to communal shower areas with private shower

alcohol, drugs and smoking? Is the

cubicles. You should be satisfied that the

school facing any particular problems in

showers offer personal privacy.

any of these areas at present?

A: Every boarding school will have policies in place to cover these matters. The real

co-curricular activities are offered, and how

question is how these issues are dealt with,

the school encourages participation in them.

and whether the individuals concerned learn

Ask about the activities that interest your

from their mistakes. This is a chance to

child most, or in which your child has a

consider the school’s personal, social, health

particular talent.

and economic education (PSHE) programme,

AUTUMN 2022 / 35


DLD College London is a distinctive and forward-thinking school, creating unique learning opportunities for all of our students. Located on the exciting South Bank, London is our classroom. We offer a diverse curriculum, combining the traditional with the unconventional, including a pioneering new Year 9 curriculum, innovative new GCSE programme, BTECs and Year 9 Opens A Levels. Visit us to find out more about our multi-awardwinning and highly recommended school.

Sept 2023 Activity Morning Sat 8 Oct 2022





DLD College London, 199 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7FX

Q: Do boarders have access to communication platforms? A: These platforms provide a very cost-effective method of keeping in touch with your child. You may want to ask how access to platforms is monitored. Q: How good is the catering? Do the boarders have an input into the choice of menu offered? A: These are really questions for the boarder showing you around. The general standard of school catering nowadays, though, is remarkably high and schools are far more conscious of the need to maintain healthy diets. On an overnight taster stay, your child will be able to assess the quality of the food. If there is a Food Committee, you can ask how often it meets and to see some of the minutes/action points. Q: What medical arrangements are in place?

THE GOVERNING BOARD Q: What is the role of the school’s governors? A: School governors have the ultimate responsibility for all aspects of the school. Although they may delegate the day-to-day operations to senior leaders of the school (for example, the Bursar and finance team usually manage financial matters), in law the governors are regarded as having overall accountability for the management of the school. This is why most governing bodies have sub-committees to monitor specific areas of the school. The most common of these committees are education, finance, welfare and health and safety. Governing bodies may also have committees for boarding, governor succession, investments and audit. If a school is a member of an academy, it will have a Local Governing Body (LGB). In this case some of the functions of governance will be carried out centrally by the Trust.

A: Obviously, it is important to know what happens in the case of either illness or an

Governing bodies are also required

emergency or accident. Schools should

to monitor all policies (and their

inform you about the medical staff and the

implementation) in regard to the National

facilities. It is also wise to check on insurance

Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools

arrangements, particularly for sporting fixtures,

(NMS) and, additionally for independent

expeditions and trips, both at home and

schools, the Independent Schools’


Standards Regulations. Governing bodies

AFTER YOUR VISIT After your visit, try to discuss with your child your thoughts about the people you met, what you were told and what you saw. Then ask yourself a number of follow-up questions: • What views did you form of the Head? Why? • What sort of leadership was provided? • How did the aims and objectives of the boarding school appear in practice? • Was there a good rapport between pupils and staff and boarders and the boarding house staff? • How was the eye-to-eye contact? • Were the boarders well-mannered and enthusiastic about their house/school? • Did the school have policies, procedures and rules to make it a civilised and caring community? • Were the staff communicative and did they enjoy their teaching? Did they have control of their classes? What contribution did they make to the life of the school outside the classroom? • Were the buildings and the grounds wellmaintained? • Was there a generally positive atmosphere about the community? • Finally, and crucially, will the school meet your child’s needs and will your child be happy there?

increasingly delegate governors to monitor


specific areas of the school. It is common

Over the years I have advised many friends and

to have a Safeguarding (Child Protection)

acquaintances on choosing a boarding school.

Governor, a Staff Appointments Governor, a

The key message is to listen to your child’s

school life. While not every pupil may be

Boarding Governor and a Health and Safety

views. Despite what the media still write, very

expected to participate fully, a great deal


few children are ‘sent to boarding school’. It is a

Q: How important is the role of chapel in school life? A: The chapel may be central to the boarding

can be achieved through chapel, most

child’s choice to be a boarder and they should

notably its important role in SMSC (spiritual,

Governors give their time and specialist

have a big input into the choice of school. By

moral, social and cultural) education and,

expertise voluntarily and a good rapport

all means ensure that the chosen school could

particularly, in helping to develop pupils’

between governors and the Head and

support your child in developing their particular

life skills and a sense of care, concern and

the senior management team is essential

skills. Just because your great friends have

respect for others in the whole community.

for a well-run school. When inspecting

agreed on a boarding school for their child,

governance, inspectors will expect governors

that does not mean it is necessarily right for

to know the school well and have strategies

your child. The greatest mistake I have seen in

for understanding the school beyond

terms of the choice of boarding school is when a

reading reports from senior leaders.

parent is fixated on a particular school and does

A FINANCIAL ISSUES Q: What extras can we expect to pay? A: Extras vary according to a child’s co-curricular involvement. The Head and school prospectus should make it clear at the outset what additional expenses can be expected. There is normally no reduction in fees for periods of study leave, but there is no compulsion for a boarder to be at home for study leave.

Q: How do you finance capital expenditure and what are your development plans?

A: Schools need to keep pace with national developments in education, so capital

projects will always be on the agenda. Some of these may be funded by donations or an appeal. Others may come out of fees. The Head should be open about future plans and financing options.

COVID-19 Boarding schools have worked extremely hard to protect boarders in their schools. Parents can access the latest COVID-19 information issued by the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) at

not consider their child’s needs. Adrian Underwood’s career has been in boarding education for over 50 years since 1971 when he was appointed a housemaster and head of department. From 1975 to 1997 he was headmaster of a boarding and day school. In 1998 Adrian became National Director of the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA). He watched over the Association’s development into the world’s foremost boarding association, pioneering a professional development programme for boarding staff. He was appointed OBE in 2007 for services to education. For 15 years he was a lead inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate and the Education Development Trust. He now lives on the North Norfolk coast and is a governor of Wymondham College and a trustee of the Sapientia Education Trust.





AUTUMN 2022 / 37



in our schools Graham Able Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus

Faith schools have often been – and

Many faith schools are very popular with

and a strong tradition for attracting Jewish

continue to be – controversial. People

parents from other persuasions. The

students. Many pupils transferred to Clifton

opposing faith schools express concerns

strong moral principles on which most

when Carmel College, a Jewish foundation,

about the possible indoctrination of

faith schools are based inculcate the good

closed in 1997 following the demise of the

developing minds whereas supporters

behavioural outcomes and disciplined

Government Assisted Places scheme on

point to the strong moral compass they

approach to learning which coincide with

which it was heavily reliant. Several boarding

provide in a world which provides so

the expectations of most parents. Those

faith schools based on the Islamic tradition

many temptations and distractions for

maintained primary schools with Catholic or

have been developed over the last 20 years

young people.

Anglican Church governance are the most

and this provision is likely to expand.

popular among parents of different faiths –

It is important to distinguish between

sometimes to the extent of real or apparent

The independent sector is very much about

majority faith schools where the curricular

sudden parental conversions in order to

parental choice. Faith schools widen that

offering is very much mainstream and the

improve the child’s chances of a place! The

choice and can cater for parents who want

very small minority of establishments where

balance between strong principles and

their children’s education to reflect their own

the curriculum is substantially reduced or

indoctrination is important, however, and is

faiths as well as parents who feel that a faith

distorted for doctrinal reasons. Our focus in

an area where most good faith schools show

school will help to provide a stronger moral

this Guide is very much on the former and

respect for and tolerance of the views of

compass. The variety of faiths represented

these include many well-regarded and well-

families from a variety of faith backgrounds.

and the differential contributions which

established schools.

faith makes in the modern lives of each

The range of faith schools in the boarding

school allows most parents to find a school

There is a wide range of schools with

sector is extensive and reflects the role of

well-suited to their child and the family as a

affiliations to faiths. Some of our oldest

various faiths in the founding of schools


established boarding schools were originally

across many years. Within the Christian faith,

founded as Christian institutions but not

there are Catholic schools such as Prior Park

all have retained such a strong religious

and Stoneyhurst, Anglican schools of varying

tradition. Dulwich College is a good example

churchmanship such as the Woodard group

– it remains a Christian foundation with an

(high church Victorian foundations including

Anglican Chaplain and an honorary Catholic

Lancing and Worksop) and those of a more

Chaplain but with no chapel on its campus

Protestant tradition such as Rugby. There

since it moved location in 1874 and no

is a strong Methodist group (including Kent

requirement on any of its pupils to attend

College and Ashville College) and several

any overtly religious gathering. It caters for

well-established Quaker foundations such

the needs of a multi-faith student body with

as Leighton Park. Caterham School was

visiting Imams and Rabbis and provides

originally established to educate the sons

for meetings of Hindus and Sikhs. Other

of Congregationalist ministers although it is

schools such as Christ’s Hospital (Anglican)

now a mainstream co-educational boarding

and Prior Park (Catholic) maintain strong


allegiance to their founding traditions, although they are very much open to those

Clifton College, a Christian foundation, had a

of other – or no – faiths.

Jewish boarding house for many years

Graham Able has spent 40 years in independent schools, the last 22 as Headmaster of Hampton School and then Master of Dulwich College. After retiring from Dulwich he was appointed Chief Executive of the Alpha Plus Group, stepping down from this role in 2014 since when he has been Group Deputy Chairman. Having previously served on the governing bodies of Roedean and Imperial College, he was a governor of Gresham’s School from 2013 to 2020 and is a governor of Beeston Hall, where he was once a pupil and is now Vice-Chairman. A former chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), he has advised governing boards on their structure and effectiveness.

AUTUMN 2022 / 39

Developing remarkable people Girls ❘ Boys ❘ Sixth


Specialist schools – arts, drama, music The specialist schools programme is a UK government initiative that encourages secondary schools in England to specialise in certain areas of the curriculum to boost achievement. The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust is responsible for the programme. Currently there are nearly 3,000 specialist schools, or 88 per cent of the state-funded secondary schools in England. In the independent sector the term ‘specialist’ tends to focus more on developing outstanding talents mainly in a range of co-curricular activities such as drama, music and the arts. The principal independent boarding schools in music, dance and drama are covered below.

MUSIC AND DANCE The Music and Dance Scheme (MDS) is a government-funded scheme to provide support for talented musicians and dancers. You can find out more at There are eight MDS specialist independent schools throughout the UK, committed to the highest teaching standards in music and dance, alongside an excellent academic education. MDS schools are listed below. MUSIC AND DANCE SCHEME SCHOOLS Music boarding schools Chetham’s School of Music The Purcell School for Young Musicians Wells Cathedral School Yehudi Menuhin School

Dance boarding schools Elmhurst School of Dance The Hammond School The Royal Ballet School Tring Park School for the Performing Arts

CHOIR SCHOOLS The Choir Schools’ Association (CSA) represents 44 schools attached to cathedrals, churches and college chapels around the country. Pupils have unlimited access to first-class schooling and musical training, giving them an excellent start in life. More than 1,200 of the 21,500 boys and girls in choir schools are choristers. Some CSA schools take children from 7 to 13; others are junior schools with senior schools to 18. The majority are Church of England foundations, but the Roman Catholic, Scottish and Welsh churches are all represented. The majority are fee paying, with nine out of ten choristers qualifying for financial help with fees from the school or through the Government’s Choir Schools’ Scholarship Scheme. To find out more, go to Choristers at about 20 choir schools are day pupils. These days only a dozen or so require all choristers to board. Others offer the choice if parents can demonstrate they can get their children to and from school in time for choir practice and services. The choir schools offering boarding are listed in the table below. CHOIR SCHOOLS OFFERING BOARDING School




Northern England The Chorister School Durham Lincoln Minster Prep School Lincoln Chetham’s School Manchester Ampleforth College York St James’ School Grimsby

Central England Dean Close Preparatory School Cheltenham Hereford Cathedral School Hereford Lichfield Cathedral School Lichfield Christ Church Cathedral School Oxford Magdalen College School Oxford St George’s School Windsor

London St Paul’s Cathedral School London Westminster Abbey Choir School London Westminster Cathedral Choir School London

Eastern England King’s College School Cambridge St John’s College School Cambridge King’s Ely Ely

Southern England St Edmund’s School Canterbury The Prebendal School Chichester The Cathedral School Exeter King’s Rochester Preparatory School Rochester Salisbury Cathedral School Salisbury Polwhele House School Truro Wells Cathedral School Wells The Pilgrims’ School Winchester

Wales The Cathedral School Llandaff

Schools with a military history Several schools in the UK have a

These schools have a strong Combined

on the school’s website and you will want

military history, for example, Queen

Cadet Force (CCF). Each school will have

to visit the school. Before the visit, you

Victoria School (QVS), The Duke of

different entry points for the CCF and

should draw up a list of questions specific

York’s Royal Military School (DOYRMS),

different lengths of time a boarder is a

to the school.

The Royal Hospital School (RHS),

member of the CCF. You can clarify this

Pangbourne College and Gordon’s

on your visit to the school. Because the

Schools with a military history have strong

School. All these schools maintain

military has such strong music traditions,

reputations, but you need to ensure the

their military connections and are

these schools are also strong in music and

school is right for your child’s skills and

proud of their military background.

not just in their military bands.


Apart from Queen Victoria School, they welcome applications from

As with choosing any school, boarders

boarders without a military

and their families should ensure they have

connection, although many boarders

all the information they need about the

come from Service families.

school. Initial research can be undertaken

Being a boarder at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School Being a boarder at The Duke of York’s Royal Military School (DOYRMS) since September 2020 has been a new experience for me. The school has quickly become my home away from home where I have made new friends. The pastoral staff – my houseparents, matrons and tutors – helped me to settle in very quickly. Like all my friends, I was nervous about starting a new school (especially a boarding school when I would be away from my parents) but from the first day here I felt secure, cared for and inspired.

“The school has quickly become my home away from home.”

I have enjoyed all the lessons with science

In my boarding house, I share my dorm

Since starting at DOYRMS, I have learnt

becoming my favourite subject because

with other girls and we have made very

so much in my lessons but also useful

of the experiments we get to enjoy in the

close bonds – I know we will be friends

life skills such as making my bed. My

laboratories. There are many clubs and

for life. There is lots of space in our

parents are really proud to hear from

activities to take part in and we even have

boarding house including day rooms

the school staff about my hard work and

our own athletics track, indoor heated

and quiet rooms and we have access to

determination, and my teachers believe I

pool, fitness suite and two climbing walls!

games consoles, Sky TV and lots of DVDs.

am working above my predicted grades.

When new students arrive at the school

The school’s dining hall reminds me of

Overall, I have loved being a boarder at

they are issued with their own laptops

Hogwarts from Harry Potter and it serves

DOYRMS because of the friends I have

which has been really useful in the

very tasty meals. We go to breakfast,

made and the new experiences on offer.

classroom, prep and free time. We get to

lunch and dinner as a boarding house,

take these home with us during school

but the whole school eats together which

holidays too. There is wi-fi throughout the

makes us feel like a large Dukie family. As

school and we are allowed our phones

everyone is a boarder at the school, sixth-

during free time so keeping in touch with

formers are on hand to help us and there

our parents is easy.

are always staff around if we need them.


Life as a boarder at Gordon’s

“You make lifelong friends when you board.” I’ve been a boarder at Gordon’s since Year 9 and am

When I first arrived, I was in a dormitory with other

now in Year 12. My parents live in Dubai. It was my

girls but now I’m in sixth form and there are 20 of us

first time boarding but I got used to it in two weeks!

sharing a boarding house. While the boarding house

I would recommend boarding to anyone. There are

staff nearby are always on hand and keep an eye on

always distractions, extra activities and a structure

us, we have our own kitchen and living room, and

that makes you do work on time. I love living with the

we are responsible for our laundry and keeping the

other girls. There is always someone there. They’re

house tidy. It’s really given us more freedom and

your mates, like family and some nights it’s like having

more responsibility – and it sets you up very well for

a big sleepover! There are really enjoyable things you


can do, like going down to the sports hall and playing volleyball, the sixth-form quiz – that was great fun.

After 7.30pm when we’ve had prep and supper, everyone mingles with the different boarding houses. Sometimes we play volleyball or dodgeball. Some people like to use the fitness suite then. There is always something to do or somewhere to go. You make lifelong friends when you board and I love that I am doing something all the time.

Will Chuter Head, Cranbrook School

The benefits of state boarding If you are looking for affordable boarding and a cracking all-round education for your children, you need look no further than this small group of effective and indeed, cost-effective schools. Put simply, parents of children at state boarding schools pay only for the boarding fee – broadly £11,000 to £17,000 per year – receiving in return a topflight education and boarding experience.

Boarding in state schools is treasured

co-curricular activities than their day

as a distinct and special part of what we

counterparts. It is typical to find a thriving

offer. The quality of accommodation in

CCF and a popular Duke of Edinburgh’s

Cranbrook’s six boarding houses matches

Award scheme, both providing

what I have experienced in some of the

outstanding opportunities for personal

nation’s very best independent boarding

and leadership development. These

schools. Equally, the pastoral care from

are usually combined with rich musical,

resident and visiting staff is excellent

theatrical and sporting programmes

– the team is as dedicated and skilled

that give the whole school a constant

as any I have worked with. This is all

buzz. Consequently, facilities have to

underpinned by a strong House identity –

be excellent. At Cranbrook, we have

at Cranbrook, a pupil’s own House is the

a performing arts centre, sports hall,

best in school, and for me this has always

astroturf, theatre, swimming pool, 70

been the litmus test for a successful

acres of sports pitches, and much more.

boarding culture. State boarding schools cater for the

CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES Happy boarders are usually busy boarders, and state boarding schools tend to offer a far wider array of

needs and interests of every child. Weekends are full and there are many opportunities for trips, socialising and fun. Lifelong memories and friendships


are made. The boarding community in

them to develop effective study habits and

a state boarding school is diverse, with

use of prep time. Outstanding tutoring

British boarders making friends for life

in the House itself by members of staff

with overseas boarders, as well as with the

who know and understand their charges

local day pupil population. This, combined

well supports this. For higher education,

with relative freedom from their parents

selective state boarding schools will

for days or weeks at a time, allows pupils

regularly field large numbers of serious

to build the resilience and independence

contenders each year for Oxbridge and

they need to become healthy and happy

medical, veterinary and dentistry schools

young adults. Character education has

and other leading universities in the Sutton

always been at the heart of state boarding.

Trust 13 or Russell Group.

ADDING VALUE TO ACADEMIC PROGRESS Boarding also develops pupils who are fulfilled and successful in their work, and it has been shown to add value to academic progress. This is almost certainly because we have more time with our boarders than our day pupils and can work longer with

You can find out more about state boarding from the BSA State Boarding Forum’s website. Go to www.boarding. Or why not come and find out for yourselves! We are extremely proud of our pupils and what we have to offer and would love to meet you.

Will Chuter went to Cranbrook School before reading Ancient History at Durham University and training as a Classics teacher at King’s College London. He caught the boarding bug as Head of Classics and Housemaster at Uppingham School, then went on to lead boarding as Deputy Head (Pastoral) at Gresham’s School. He has been Head of Cranbrook School since 2021.


Choosing state boarding State boarding schools are often described as ‘education’s bestkept secret’. Certainly I meet many prospective parents who have found the sector almost by chance and who once introduced are impressed by the range of facilities, types of school and examination results across our schools. State boarding is only available to UK passport holders, those with the right of abode in the UK and those with ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status (but that only applies to existing pupils, not new ones). Education is provided free of charge, so parents only pay for boarding.

Jonathan Taylor Chief Executive Officer, Sapientia Education Trust (SET)

Prep School is located on the same site as

Wymondham College, enabling the children of the Prep School to access teaching

expertise from both the Prep School and the College. The Prep School will also

draw on the expertise of the Sapientia

Education Trust (SET), which was founded

by Wymondham College and incorporates

16 schools in Norfolk and Suffolk. For more information, go to

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE I firmly believe boarding adds significant value to young people, developing their independence, resilience and self-esteem. In 2016 three state boarding schools were in the top 20 non-selective state schools at GCSE and state boarding schools topped the league tables in three regions of the country. University entrance rates are very high, with Russell Group and Oxbridge entry well above national averages. And it’s not just academic success – several England rugby players attended state boarding schools.

State boarding schools vary considerably by

Wymondham College has around 650

size and location but they all share a strong

boarders and offers a strong academic

commitment to the value of boarding and

curriculum combined with excellent pastoral

State boarding schools may offer single-sex

provide excellent facilities and systems of

care. Typically it runs more than 65 weekly

boarding or mixed boarding. Some have

care. In total around 5,000 pupils enjoy

extra-curricular activities, a wide range of

boarding houses covering the entire school

boarding in a diverse, varied and hugely

international trips and visits and has a strong

age while others divide into key stages or

successful range of schools. The sector

commitment to sport, music, drama, CCF

run a separate sixth-form boarding house.

consists of large mixed non-selective

and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. It offers

They all offer strong systems of pastoral

schools, free schools, grammar schools

27 different A-level courses but other state

support and care, ensuring pupils are well

and schools that offer mixed or single-sex

boarding schools provide different pathways,

known by staff and their individual needs are


for example the IB is available in some

catered for. Pupil-voice activities are strongly

schools and others offer an excellent range

promoted and pupils are given opportunities

of vocational courses.

to lead and contribute to their schools.

Although most state boarding schools offer secondary places, primary boarding is available too. Wymondham College


Lancaster Royal Grammar School State Day and Boarding School for Boys Aged 11 to 18 Coeducational Sixth Form Founded in 1472 we are one of the UK’s top grammar schools for boys with a coeducational Sixth Form. Exceptional value for money with free tuition. Fees for boarding are only one third of the fees of independent schools. Our commitment to achieving excellence at an educational and extracurricular level makes LRGS an exceptional place to learn and grow as an individual. Rated ‘Outstanding for Boarding’ by Ofsted 2019. Boarding for boys aged 11-18, girls and boys for Sixth Form. 2021 results: Over 83% of all A-level results were graded A*, A or B. 70% of all pupils gained at least seven GCSE grades at 7, 8 & 9. 13 Oxbridge offers in 2022. Please visit our website to find out more.

“Pupils enjoy a first-class range of enrichment activities”. Ofsted @LRGSLancaster

“The school has at its heart the aim to help children to excel.” Ofsted

“Sixth Form provision is outstanding” Ofsted

Sixth Form Open Evening in October 2022 Lancasterroyalgrammarschool


Boarding houses are homely with soft furnishings often the norm and I have yet to have a poor meal in ten years of working in the sector! Day-to-day life follows a typical boarding school pattern. At Wymondham College breakfast starts from 7.15am, lessons from 8.30am, the school day ends at 3.45pm and our extra-curricular programme starts at 4pm. Prep is completed in the evenings (with boarding staff, more often than not teachers, on hand to support) and we offer Saturday morning school, with a full range of sporting fixtures on Saturday afternoons. Parents and students choose state boarding for many reasons and our communities are grounded and diverse. Some prefer the state boarding offer, others are attracted by high standards and value for money, others are attracted to the

through an inspection report. I always

distinctiveness of individual schools. Across

encourage parents to visit several schools

the sector there are very high satisfaction

before choosing, ensuring the best match

rates from parents and pupils.

for their child. State boarding schools are proud of what we deliver. As one journalist

State boarding schools are subject to

commented on a visit to the College, ‘this

regular Ofsted inspections, including an

feels like any leading independent school’.

Ofsted boarding inspection every three

Like colleagues in the independent sector,

years. Reports are available online but we

we are simply committed to high-quality

recommend a personal visit because it can


Jonathan Taylor is Chief Executive Officer of the Sapientia Education Trust (SET) which was founded by Wymondham College and incorporates 16 schools in Norfolk and Suffolk. He boarded as a child, studied as an undergraduate at Brasenose College, Oxford and has worked for more than 15 years in the state boarding sector. He is a committee member of the BSA State Boarding Forum, has sat on the Norfolk Safeguarding Board and is a trustee of several other schools.

be difficult to convey the ethos of a school


The Royal School Wolverhampton

Excellent GCSE & A Level results Outstanding pastoral care Affordable state boarding for 11-18 year olds Centrally located with excellent UK travel links Extensive enrichment opportunities

Co-educational day and boarding school for students aged 11-18 • Welcoming family environment • Outstanding academic achievement • Exceptional range of co-curricular & extracurricular activities

• £3,750 per term (no tuition fees) • Music scholarship available

Located in rural Oxfordshire, 90 minutes from London by train

Tel: 01902 341230



boarding schools

If you are considering boarding, a state

academies or free schools. These schools

In England there are 34 mainstream

boarding school may be an option. As

give priority to children who have a particular

members of the BSA State Boarding Forum

always, it is important to do your research

need to board and will assess children’s

(SBF) and 32 are listed here, including

and above all, see the school in action before

suitability for boarding. At state boarding

academies and free schools. For more

you make any choice. State boarding schools

schools and academies, including sixth-form

information on state boarding schools go to

provide free education but charge fees for

colleges, parents pay between £10,000 and

boarding. Some state boarding schools are

£17,000 per year for their children to board,


run by local councils and others are run as

with an average of £12,000 per year.

State boarding schools School



Beechen Cliff School


South West

Number of boarders 34

Brymore Academy


South West


Burford School


South Central


Colchester Royal Grammar School


East England

Cranbrook School


South East


Dallam School


North West


Exeter College


South West


Gordon’s School


South East


Haberdashers’ Adams


West Midlands


Hockerill Anglo-European College


East England


Holyport College


South East


Keswick School


North West


Lancaster Royal Grammar School


North West


Liverpool College

City of Liverpool Borough

North West

Old Swinford Hospital

Metropolitan Borough of Dudley

West Midlands


Peter Symonds College


South Central


Reading School


South Central


Richard Huish College


South West

Ripon Grammar School

North Yorkshire

North East Yorkshire and Humber


Royal Alexandra & Albert School


South East


Sexey’s School


South West


Shaftesbury School


South West


St George’s School, Harpenden Academy Trust


East England


Steyning Grammar School


South East


The Duke of York’s Royal Military School


South East


The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe


South Central


The Royal School, Wolverhampton

Metropolitan Borough of Wolverhampton

West Midlands


The Thomas Adams School Shropshire


West Midlands

The Wellington Academy


South West


Wymondham College


East England


Wymondham College Prep School


East England






The benefits of sixth-form

boarding Sixth-form colleges provide high

Admission to a state boarding school is

quality academic education for 16- to

for pupils who hold a full UK passport

18-year-old pupils enabling them to

or who can meet the eligibility funding

progress to university, the workplace

criteria from the Educational and Skills

or higher-level vocational education.

Funding Agency (ESFA), e.g. British

There are 277 colleges in the UK

Nationals Overseas, Dependents.

and 62 are designated as sixth-form

Sixth-form colleges and FE colleges can

colleges, offering an extensive range of

apply for a Sponsor Licence to attract

academic, technical and professional

international pupils to study their

courses as well as apprenticeships.

Level 3 (usually A level) qualifications.

Sixth-form colleges have a reputation

Many of these sixth-form colleges offer

for academic excellence, many of them

homestay accommodation to their pupils

being rated Outstanding by Ofsted.

but a few offer full boarding facilities,

However, they do not have a history

operated by the college, including

of offering boarding accommodation –

Richard Huish College. Several FE colleges

something we have changed at Richard

offer boarding, but they are still in the

Huish College in Taunton.


While state boarding schools are well

WELCOMING ALL PUPILS At Richard Huish College, based in Taunton, the boarding house opened its doors to pupils from around the world, including the UK, in 2017. The house has 53 study bedrooms, all with ensuite bathrooms. The College has been welcoming pupils from around the world for many years but knew that while homestay parents do an amazing job of nurturing pupils new to the UK, there were also some pupils who would prefer the boarding house experience. The boarding house means the College can offer choice and flexibility to pupils and their parents – essentially offering an independent school sixth-form experience at a fraction of the cost.

established, boarding at a sixth-form college is a relatively rare concept. Each year, state boarding schools regularly outperform other state schools with a good number topping academic league tables around the country. The combination of the excellent statefunded education and a boarding community enables pupils to make the most of their talents and abilities. However, these schools offer Level 2 (GCSE) and Level 3 (A level) qualifications and are for pupils aged 11 to 18, while a sixth-form college only has pupils who are between 16 and 19 years.

Emma Fielding Principal, Richard Huish College


Sixth-form boarding at a state college is

preparation for university life. Boarding

dynamic college environment bringing

also an option for UK pupils who travel

students make a great circle of friends

together large numbers of talented

long distances daily. Flexi-boarding or

in the boarding house, often friends

and aspirational young people who can

weekly boarding is a great option when a

they will have for life. A rigorous set of

explore their independence, while still

late sports fixture or exam preparation

Ofsted boarding standards is adhered

providing a controlled and safe college

needs to take priority. Many of our pupils

to, ensuring the pastoral welfare and


live rurally – parents see the advantages

academic development of all pupils. Admission to Richard Huish College is for

of flexi-boarding while pupils are excited by the opportunity of becoming more

Boarding at sixth form can be affordable

pupils who hold a full UK passport, pupils


if you expand your search criteria to

from UK military families based in the

include the state sector. Many state

UK or abroad or pupils who can meet

Boarding at a sixth-form college, FE

boarding schools have specific areas of

the eligibility funding criteria of the

college or state boarding school, your

expertise you may wish to access, such

ESFA, e.g. British National Overseas,

son or daughter can expect plenty of

as links with Huish Tigers Basketball

Dependents. For further information,

home comforts and a warm welcome

Club, Bristol Bears Rugby and Somerset

go to

from the houseparents. Their confidence

Country Cricket Club at Richard Huish

and independence will be nurtured and

College. Your child will have the best

the experience will give them essential

of both worlds – the benefits of a

Emma Fielding became Principal at Richard Huish College in 2020, taking over from John Abbott who moved to become Chief Executive Officer of the Richard Huish Trust. Emma began her career in education as an Educational Researcher at the University of Cambridge before going on to train as a History and Sociology teacher. She has since worked in the post-16 educational sector for more than 18 years.

Life at a state boarding school Dr Chris Pyle Head, Lancaster Royal Grammar School England’s state boarding schools

Co-curricular opportunities are a particular

or expat families from Europe and the

have a very special place in our

strength. After-school activities flourish in a

Middle East and boarders from Hong Kong

education system. They often have an

residential community with no commuting

and West Africa are all well represented.

‘independent’ ethos and education is

required. Many pupils play competitive

free. Boarding fees are typically around

sport against independent schools, some

a third of the cost of independent

schools offer outstanding debating and

boarding schools.

music while others, including LRGS, place a high value on thriving CCF Army, Naval and

State boarding schools come in all shapes

RAF sections as a mainstay of their outdoor

and sizes, from non-selective schools in

and leadership programmes.

rural settings to grammar schools in towns and small cities. A few are single-sex while

Academic results are a major factor for

others are co-educational. Several are

most parents in choosing a state boarding

very ancient – Lancaster Royal Grammar

school, and here too the sector punches

School (LRGS) traces its roots back to the

above its weight. ‘Value-added’ analysis

thirteenth century – while others have been

shows that our boarders tend to do even

established recently to meet demand in this

better than day pupils at GCSE, as a result

vibrant sector.

of the support and encouragement they receive from boarding staff who engage

All state boarding schools are united by

with boarders’ academic challenges during

a shared belief in the opportunities of

and outside prep times.

boarding. There is a consistent concern for

MODERN LIFE Most of our families are ‘first generation’ boarders. They may not initially have considered boarding or even been aware that exceptional state schools offer this opportunity. Boarding fits modern life for many families living with the realities of commuting, travel commitments, divided families or older siblings away at university. A mother bringing up her son on her own told me how boarding allows her to manage her growing business, while her son benefits from positive role models and support. ‘We have the best weekends ever!’ said the mother of another weekly boarder. The boarding experience changes with age. Our younger boarders are in light and airy

the wellbeing and personal development

At LRGS, around half of our 170 boarders

shared dorms of four to six. The emphasis

of the young people in our schools.

live within an hour of the school, but

is on establishing excellent habits both in

Wraparound pastoral care creates a very

growing numbers are from London and

boarding and in the classroom. Pastoral

special environment where friendships

elsewhere in the UK. We have about 50

care is led by the housemaster and the

and shared activities become for many the

overseas students, who must have UK

matrons – whose days include reuniting

defining privilege of their teenage years.

passports or right of UK residence. Bilingual

pupils with lost property and supplying


toast! Evening tutors supervise prep, with young sports grads and sixth-form mentors often on hand. Plenty of summer evenings are spent chasing either a ball or each other round the fields. Junior boarding has the excitement of a secret society: boarders and day pupils are indistinguishable in school, but boarders have the key to an extra world – while many day pupils head for a long journey home. In the GCSE years, boarders normally share a dorm with one other pupil, and in the sixth form all boarders are in single rooms. Revision season sees pupils working together – but with occasional encouragement to head out for an impromptu barbecue or game of dodgeball to relieve the pressure.

STEPPING STONE TO UNIVERSITY Parents increasingly see sixth-form boarding as an excellent stepping stone to university. We encourage all our senior boarders to take on leadership positions and to engage with the local community – from planting trees to hosting our local residents’ Christmas party.

and open communication with parents

students if you can – at open days, for a

is the aspect that has changed most in

tour on a normal school day, and perhaps

recent years. ‘I Facetime my dad twice a

for an evening taster session. Come and

day,’ one overseas boarder told me recently

see what makes us special.

– although most teenagers struggle to communicate quite so frequently! You can tell a certain amount from a

State boarding is very much a shared

school’s website and reputation, but it is

enterprise between parents and school,

important to visit and meet staff and

Dr Chris Pyle has been Head of Lancaster Royal Grammar School since 2012. He was state-educated in Oxfordshire and went on to complete a degree and PhD in Geography at Cambridge University. He was previously Deputy Head at the Perse School, Cambridge.


Great stories begin here ‘Boarding lies at the heart of this Somerset School’ - Tatler Schools Guide BOOK YOUR SCHOOL VISIT TODAY #GreatSto rie sBe g inHere

Co-Educational Boarding & Day Prep School | Outstanding Extra-Curricular Activities | Forces Discount 01963 442 606 | | | Sparkford, Somerset, BA22 7JA

Boarding lessons from COVID-19 Natalie Bone Head, Sherborne Prep

As teachers, we constantly look back and reflect. We learn from experience: what would we do differently next time? What went well? What are the areas for improvement? As boarding staff, we do the same, with the emphasis on the care of the child – being in loco parentis is a trusted and privileged position to hold and the children under our roof deserve the best care. COVID-19 has provided plenty of opportunity to reflect on and adapt our approach. Boarding houses have had to deal with much reduced movement of children as a result of the restrictions in international travel and the closure of schools. Although this carries with it a significantly changed environment, like all good boarding staff we enjoy a challenge! So, how have we turned this to our and the pupils’ advantage? Flexibility has been key, with staff, parents and pupils all feeling the pressure to get things right and keep everyone safe from COVID-19. The boarding house has had to become, more than ever, an oasis of calm in a rapidly changing world. The care and attention boarding staff have given pupils and their families during the pandemic has been critical. Simply put, the pandemic has brought to the boarding house a true family environment.

Traditionally when we have talked about a

the ban on fixtures or trips, creativity in

family environment in a boarding school,

devising activities on site and at times in the

we have focused on a houseparent who

absence of a full school catering provision,

delivers the family feel in the boarding

turning hands to cooking for everyone.

house and where the children in the house

Although not without its challenges, this

see each other as siblings. However, during

has allowed us to revisit what it is to be a

the pandemic this has in many cases been

boarding family; not just putting a routine in

taken a step further. Dedicated staff have

place that lets the house run smoothly but

taken on an even greater holistic role:

providing full support to each pupil.

full weekend entertainment because of


A FULL CONNECTION The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of communication, and not just ‘tick box’ communication, but a full connection with families and friends who have not been able to be present. Interestingly, in many cases those not in the boarding house have said they felt starved of their friendship groups, but the bonds boarders have developed with each other have been very strong and will surely last for years to come – the boarders will remember being part of an extended family in the darkest of times. In many ways, boarding houses are stronger because of COVID-19. We have all had to adapt at a remarkable speed. Homes have become clubs and activities, living rooms have become classrooms, bedrooms have become libraries. Parents have become teachers and siblings have become classmates. These have been testing times but also a remarkable opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to our pupils and families and make a difference to their lives.

Natalie Bone is in her second Headship at Sherborne Prep having been Head at Sidcot Junior School, a houseparent and teacher of Maths at Millfield School, Head of Maths and houseparent at Millfield Prep School plus time working at Port Regis. Her degree from Reading University led to a career in finance before training to become a teacher. She has also enjoyed success in the world of dressage. Natalie is married to Matt, the Director of Art at Sherborne School, and they have two grown-up children, as well as several horses and dogs.

Charlie Jenkins Head, Shebbear College

The pandemic has sent a tornado through the educational sector in the last couple of years, especially for boarding schools with international pupils. However, there have also been silver linings for boarding schools, with many positives taken from the lockdowns. These include the expansion of remote and blended online learning, living together intensively in boarding house lockdowns and communicating online with parents. I am proud of our pupils, parents and staff for embracing these new ways of working with good humour, determination and resilience. In fact, we are now a school at the forefront of digital teaching and learning and ahead of where we would have been if the pandemic had not happened. Teachers and pupils have embraced remote, live and blended learning with open arms in the last two academic years – technology and direct human interaction at its best.

HAWC, perhaps because they are isolating,

many evenings catching up on the latest

Delivering live lessons has transformed

they can click in remotely – our pupils are

government guidelines. She has ensured

our opportunities in teaching, learning and

never alone. In fact, while the boarding

the school’s measures to keep pupils safe

collaborative working across the globe.

houses were locked down, the boarders

are fully aligned with BSA guidelines and the

Pupils are accessing lessons from their

had a great time – daily updates and

National Minimum Standards for Boarding.

homes or boarding houses when isolating

fun and laughter from the houses could

She has also arranged all the travel

and when in quarantine hotels overseas.

be heard across the campus. Everyone

arrangements for boarders including flights,

In fact, teaching and learning has not gone

embraced the challenges with positivity and

transfers, quarantine and testing.

backwards – it has accelerated.

a ‘can-do’ attitude.

At Shebbear College, the social and

SAFE, HAPPY AND COMFORTABLE Our boarding staff work very closely to ensure our pupils are not only safe but also happy and comfortable. We have appointed a Compliance Manager who has managed the compliance of the school throughout the pandemic – she has spent

One of the biggest challenges for us during emotional wellbeing of our pupils continues to be at the heart of everything we do. We have a Health and Wellbeing Centre (HAWC) on campus and our experienced, caring staff support each pupil in whatever way they need. If a boarding pupil cannot get to the

the pandemic has been writing and then implementing whole school COVID-19 risk assessments to keep everyone safe. The key to successful implementation has been communication and clarity. There is no point in having a risk assessment if nobody reads it and we have spent time talking to


pupils and parents to explain why we have the protocols in place – everyone has responded superbly. Our online parent meetings via ‘School Cloud’ have been a revolutionary addition to our communication strategy to parents, especially for overseas pupils. Communicating across international borders and time differences has never been easier. Here is some feedback from a Year 7 parent: ‘Thank you for the amazing effort the school has made for home learning. When I found out we were home schooling a feeling of dread filled me – we did not have a positive experience of it at our last school. I have barely known my son has been home. He has logged on and completed all his lessons plus activities which I think is above and beyond what was expected. I wanted to say how impressed I have been with everything the school has done for this home learning and how much effort the teachers have put in, so thank you. It is so reassuring to know that my children’s education is in safe hands with staff who care and a school that is willing to make an effort to help them achieve their goals.’ Charlie joined Shebbear College in September 2020 as the Senior Deputy Head. He became Head in September 2022 when he took over from Caroline Kirby. Before joining Shebbear, Charlie was the Deputy Head (Academic and Co-curricular) at Licensed Victuallers’ School, Ascot. Before that he worked at Pangbourne College, Berkshire, where he was Head of Geography and Assistant Boarding Housemaster. In his free time Charlie enjoys the outdoors, running, kite surfing and walking his dog, Ted.

John Browne Head, Stonyhurst College

Throughout the pandemic, Stonyhurst, like all schools and sectors, had an exciting opportunity to challenge and change traditional thinking around teaching, living, and learning. The Jesuit concept of having ‘one foot in the air’, ready for the next challenge, perhaps had never been more relevant. The journey since March 2020 has led to new understandings as schools emerge from lockdown. The challenges presented by COVID-19 have accelerated the implementation of digital strategies in educational settings. For example, all pupils from Year 5 upwards at Stonyhurst now have a school-issued device. Lessons take advantage of Microsoft OneNote and there is an increase in well-chosen digital resources and online textbooks available to pupils. The advantage for boarders is that instead of hauling around multiple folders and books at the end of term as part of their luggage, they

its parent consultations online so that every

social media events such as assemblies,

can simply pack their device in their hand

parent can attend, rather than limiting to

house competitions, masses and other

luggage and they have everything they need

those who would have traditionally had to

celebrations with the wider school

to continue their studies in the holidays. By

travel to or across the UK to attend.


learning offer during periods of lockdown

This has also improved things for busy

Part of the joy of boarding is the community

now gives schools the ability to reassure

day pupil parents, who no longer have

feel of the boarding houses, where

pupils and their parents that any potential

to make babysitting arrangements to

boarders share their lives together.

durations of quarantine or isolation will not

attend school consultations and also no

Boarders are used to the busyness of the

result in children missing out on lessons,

longer have to queue for conversations

house and having their friends ‘on tap’.

pastoral support or the community spirit

with teachers. Zoom calls have allowed

With COVID-19, boarding communities

that is so important in a boarding school.

teachers and pastoral staff to have face-

were scattered worldwide. Although

to-face conversations with parents. This is

almost all boarders returned to school, a

very useful for pastoral conversations as

number found themselves attending online

it introduces a more personal relationship

school from their own homes. Part of the

between parent and teacher. Parents are

challenge for lockdown in a boarding school

more connected now than ever because

was gathering the community together.

schools can also share online or through

Stonyhurst managed to keep the

the same token, the success of the online

CONNECTING WITH PARENTS As well as advances in technology aiding pupils in their lessons, schools now have better and more frequent communications with parents. Stonyhurst has moved all of


community connected by hosting online house competitions, or in our case line competitions, from interline MasterChef to the toilet roll challenge, interline music and quizzes that brought boarders and their families together. We have found pupils have a heightened sense of the value of community living since returning to school, no longer taking things for granted. Live Christmas parties, interline competitions and even singing practice helped ground pupils in their return to the ‘new normal’. Boarding schools now need to keep the best of the innovations while returning to the in-person schooling that makes boarding life so exciting. Throughout the pandemic, pupils and the wider school family benefited from guidance, stability, structure, commonality of purpose and anchorage to a school community from their boarding schools.

John Browne became Headmaster of Stonyhurst in 2016. Before this, he was Headmaster of St Aloysius’s College Glasgow, Deputy Headmaster of Ampleforth College and Headmaster of Westminster Cathedral Choir School. An alumnus of St Ignatius’s College Enfield, John obtained his BA (Hons) in Music from the University of Bristol and has a postgraduate LLB from City University, London, and an MBA. John is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and a Governor of St John’s Beaumont.

Out of the ordinary: realising the potential of every child Dr Joe Spence Master, Dulwich College

Deeply embedded in articles on what makes a good school you may find a short paragraph on its provision for the ordinary pupil, but that genus deserves further attention. Some of the hardest work a school has to undertake is to care for the pupils who are seen, or perceive themselves, as ‘nothing special’. Independent schools celebrate the plethora of opportunities available to their pupils but don’t always work hard enough to interrogate who is taking them up. Many a school will take too great a pride in what is achieved by the prodigies (who would have done well anywhere), and every decent school looks after its strugglers, but it’s in ‘the middle of the middle’ that there is most value to be added and most to be done. Schools are getting better at understanding the problems posed by the coasting or professedly unexceptional pupil. There are six key questions for parents to ask of a school to make sure it is alert to the issue.

Does the school have a motivational reward system? Commendations need to be accessible not only to the élite, but for the improving pupils too, with their focus on effort over attainment. Pupils must be able to feel a pride in their progress in all their enterprises – creative, sporting, charitable, adventurous and academic. And schools should not underestimate the value of a mention in assembly or in the school magazine of somebody who doesn’t usually feature in despatches. A good school will employ strong tracking systems to distinguish the real middle from the false middle (i.e. the merely indolent or disengaged) and to establish aspirational target setting as a basis for conversations between tutors and all their pupils.

How integral to the school’s ethos is good tutoring? Pupils need to be sponsored by committed tutors and be well known to their housemasters and year heads. When you visit a school check they know all their pupils well – and not just their stars or strugglers. A good tutor teases out the hopes and fears of every pupil and nudges the reluctant pupil towards engagement. A good tutor respects every pupil for who he or she is. Pupils want to feel cherished for who they are, not what the school wants them to be. The best tutors are also great role models: adults engaged in and supportive of the school and its ethos (albeit sometimes as critical friends). Form structure is important too; as many children as possible should have access to promotion on merit and there should be evidence that the school is cognisant of the danger of sink forms.



A non-denominational Christian day and boarding school

11-18 coeducational boarding at one of the UK's top performing non-selective schools for less than £5000 per term En suite study bedrooms for every sixth form boarder | Total flexibility over full or weekly boarding Herts AL5 4TD | | 01582 765477

A p e r fe c t ly b a l a n c e d t h r ou g h - s cho ol e d u c a t io n fo r b oy s a nd g i rl s i n t he he a r t of E ng l a nd .

Full, weekly and flexi boarding places are available for children from age 7. To arrange your personal tour please call Ellie Jones on 01283 707112 or email


Is there a breadth of activities available to and taken up by all pupils? Parents might check up on just how many matches the lower ability teams play, how inclusive music and drama really are and how much the school’s clubs and societies engage all rather than some. I reflect on the boys at Dulwich who have found their platforms and niches at one remove from the mainstream: the boy with a love of reading who has led the book club and creative writing groups; the boy who struggles with ball sports but who in rowing has found a social life as well as a sport to enjoy; the boy who loves the theatre, not as an actor but in doing the lighting or sound. At an early age, there should be an opportunity for everyone to ‘be and do everything’. Junior school sport is judged by 100 per cent participation rather than by the win:lose ratio of A teams, while all boys in Years 3 and 4 learn to play a stringed instrument and a wind instrument. Meanwhile, at the top of the school, you might want to check school colours are awarded to those who shine in community service or the CCF as well as in sport and that the school’s senior prefects represent a cross-section of the school population. Does the school offer pupil voice opportunities to a broad crosssection of pupils? Tutors should be sending a variety of pupils to school council meetings or learning forums and sometimes sending the more reluctant, those out of their comfort zone, as representing ‘the middle voice’. It is also important to enable leadership opportunities for the non-stellar pupil – to find an alternative engagement for those disappointed not to become prefects.

of its prevailing culture. So, if there is a

wellbeing between the teachers, parents

belief that hard work and enthusiasm are at

and the pupils themselves.

the heart of success, the middle group will accept that.

How well developed is the school’s house system and what is the culture and ethos of the boarding house? A good house system, like a good housemaster or housemistress, can elicit a strong sense of community and cooperation and provide an opportunity for all to shine through a wide range of competitions (cultural as well as sporting). In a good house, strong peer relationships and the right kind of peer pressure encourage all boarders to engage and lead activity. Peer mentoring creates opportunities for boarders to learn from each other’s struggles and achievements. In a boarding setting particularly pupils can ably support each other’s learning. A key to success in a boarding house as in a school is the scope

Every child matters; every child differs. Of course, it’s inevitable some teachers will

How good is the teaching – and do the best teachers teach all the pupils? Only excellent and flexible teaching can ensure all pupils are equally challenged. The best teachers are those who can portray academic struggle as a learning opportunity, ensuring that pupils do not seek to hide in the anonymous middle ground for fear of getting things wrong. Embracing free learning rather than creating a curriculum that is wholly exam focused also ensures that middling pupils are engaged, by creating different fields in which they can be noticed. Good schools tend to have more parents’ evenings – allowing for discussion of progress and

be drawn to those who shine brightest. A school has to work hard to draw out the ‘middle of the middle’ so they can excel too, but it’s always worth the effort.

Dr Joseph Spence has been Master of Dulwich College since 2009. He was Headmaster of Oakham School from 2002, having taught history and politics at Eton College, where he was Master in College from 1992 to 2002. He jointly leads Southwark Schools Learning Partnership (SSLP), a collaboration of the senior maintained and independent schools in the borough. A trustee of the Mark Evison Foundation, Art History Link Up and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Joe is also a playwright and librettist and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


Best Academic Progress in Berkshire

Find out more


independent • co-educational • day/boarding • 11-18 years

Schools together in partnership Independent schools have been and collaborating with state schools for many years, but it is only in recent years that we have begun to collect data which clearly demonstrates this. Thousands of mutually beneficial partnerships now exist between independent and state schools, unlocking new educational experiences for all involved. This work was reinforced in a ‘Joint Understanding’ with the Department for Education (DfE) announced by the Secretary of State in 2018. The document outlines the commitment of independent schools to voluntarily develop mutually supportive collaborations with maintained

Julie Robinson Chief Executive, Independent Schools Council (ISC) Photo with kind permission of Sherborne School

connecting with their local communities

CHARITABLE STATUS A certain amount of political interest has been generated in connection with charitable status debates over the years and the media often berates fee-charging schools for the ‘tax breaks’ that come with charitable status. In fact, the allocation of bursary awards far exceeds business rates relief granted to those schools which are charities. Even schools that are not charities have taken steps to improve accessibility for families who might not otherwise be able to afford independent school fees, by providing increasing amounts of bursary assistance in recent years. For the academic year 2021–22, £480 million is being provided in means-tested fee assistance for pupils at ISC schools. A judicial review in 2011 ruled that education is of itself a charitable activity. The trustees of schools that are charities have a duty to report to the Charity Commission their school’s work for the public benefit. This work can take the form of awarding bursaries on a means-tested basis for disadvantaged children, children on the edge of care and looked-after children, support for academies and collaborative work that provides a variety of learning and development opportunities to children who would otherwise miss out.

Photo with kind permission of Wells Cathedral School


“Vulnerable subjects, such as modern foreign languages, Latin, music and physics are supported by partnership work.”

It is important that trustees retain flexibility to fulfil any school’s public benefit activity according to local needs and in ways that are appropriate for the school according to its individual capacity. Many schools do not have extensive facilities that can be shared with state schools and there are geographic and other barriers to be considered.

ENCOURAGING PARTNERSHIP ACTIVITIES BETWEEN SCHOOLS The Schools Together website, which details many excellent partnership projects between independent and state schools, was built with the express purpose of encouraging, showcasing and inspiring partnership working.

WHY WORK TOGETHER? There are economies of scale and various mutual benefits when schools join together to procure services – including the sharing of specialist teachers – and training. A visiting author or speaker can be made available to a range of pupils beyond the host school. Schools can share specific expertise and develop policies.

create a national network, drawing on key examples of sustainable and meaningful partnership work. While partnership activity between independent and state schools has inevitably been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more schools have been able to resume their joint working

Vulnerable subjects, such as modern

as restrictions and absence rates become

foreign languages, Latin, music and physics

less pronounced. These activities include

are supported by partnership work. Pupils

reading with younger pupils, preparing

meeting each other can develop a new way

A-level pupils for higher education, sharing

of seeing the world. Inter-school visits can

facilities and seconding teaching staff.

allow new subject areas, sports, musical instruments and experiences to be shared,

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, 6,963

broadening the horizons of all taking part.

partnerships at 936 schools were recorded in the 2021 calendar year, and we expect

The website was launched in 2016 and although involvement is voluntary, more than

Successful partnerships help to bring

to see more partnership opportunities

6,000 projects have been featured, showing a

communities together in deeper

blossoming between the sectors as school

wide range of partnership activities.

understanding and thereby support social

life continues to return to normal.

cohesion. The pooling of resources enhances The projects are allocated categories such

the overall educational offer for all schools

as academic, drama, governance, music,

involved and by sharing experiences, teachers

sponsorship, sport and design technology.

can benefit from effective professional development. Some schools are working

It is clear from the website that many different

in pairs or small clusters and others are

types of collaborations are underway involving

working in large collaborative groups across

large and smaller schools.

an area such as in York or Birmingham. These groupings develop projects over time and

From full academy sponsorship, such as

forge strong links across the communities

Harris Westminster and the London Academy

involved. The projects grow according to

of Excellence, through to arts projects with

schools’ needs and strengths, building

local primary and special schools; from

mutually supportive communities.

careers guidance and university preparation, to inclusion in dramatic productions and sports tournaments – this website draws together a range of impressive and exciting educational opportunities for all pupils and staff involved. It showcases excellent examples of what is already in place, providing insight into the value of collaboration.

THE FUTURE September 2022 marks the launch of the School Partnerships Alliance (SPA), an organisation that will focus on promoting best partnership practice across state and independent schools. The SPA will bring together schools and other stakeholders to

Julie Robinson is Chief Executive of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) – the collective voice of the independent education sector. In her role, Julie serves the interests of the ISC’s constituent associations and 1,390-plus member schools through conversations with the Government and in the media. The ISC brings together five associations representing headteachers, one governors’ association and one bursars’ association, along with four affiliate associations that represent boarding, Scottish, Welsh and international independent schools. Before becoming ISC Chief Executive, Julie was a teacher, housemistress and Head of Ardingly College Junior School and then Vinehall Prep School in Sussex. After these headships, she was Education and Training Director for the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools (IAPS). She is governor of a state school and an independent school.

Photo with kind permission of Wells Cathedral School


Supporting character development in a boarding school Young people today need first-class tuition and the finest academic qualifications to succeed, but they also need strength of character and skills such as communication, teamwork and resilience, to build happy, fulfilling and worthwhile lives. A boarding education can provide the building blocks for character and success. As the school curriculum narrows, the boarding school’s emphasis on educating the whole child provides plenty of opportunities to develop a wider set of skills and qualities. At Bloxham, our activities programme offers pupils 100 options, ranging from mainstream sports to minor ones, and from music, drama and art, to astronomy and Young Enterprise. Balancing breadth with specialism, our tutors work with pupils to help them select options which will both stimulate and challenge. They encourage pupils to give everything a go – in our view, it’s good to try new things, to persevere at acquiring new skills and to learn to laugh when you fail. Where talent and interests emerge, a boarding school can allow pupils time and resource for passions and expertise to flourish. With a flexible boarding model, it is possible to take an open approach to pursuits which naturally develop outside of school.

OUTDOOR EDUCATION In common with many boarding schools, outdoor education runs through the lifeblood of Bloxham School. First introduced in our Lower School, outdoor education increases in challenge as pupils move through their years with us. Our Year 7 and 8 pupils enjoy annual camps and the not-to-be-missed Alps trip, when they get to test their nerve white-water rafting and canyoning, building life-lasting memories on the way down.

Paul Sanderson Headmaster, Bloxham School


Over many years, boarding schools have learnt that trying new activities in a fun environment can generate excitement for learning outdoors. This in turn lays the foundations of communication, teamwork and resilience upon which young people will rely so often in the future. These skills can be further developed in more demanding environments, for example, through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) and the CCF. Schemes like these help pupils broaden their horizons, develop their leadership skills, learn to work with others, and prove to themselves they can succeed at a serious challenge.

CONTRIBUTING TO THE COMMUNITY Bloxham is a Christian foundation school. As such we value kindness and compassion, and we teach pupils the value of contributing to their community. Through our wellsupported service programme pupils volunteer at food banks, care homes and local primary schools each week, giving them a lasting experience of making a difference. One such relationship led to a beautiful collaboration, which saw a design technology A-level pupil dedicate his examined project to a local hospice. Working to the hospice director’s brief, the pupil designed and made symbols, features and artefacts to enable the hospice chapel to become a multi-faith place for worship and reflection. Now installed, they are having a moving effect on the hospice’s community. They have also shown our pupil, and indeed the whole school community, the impact they can have when they give something back.

Each year we fundraise for a variety of

to invest in their community, realise their

charities – from local causes such as

actions have consequences and learn to

Katharine House Hospice, to charities close

take responsibility. This blend of education

to the heart of our community. Fundraising

helps them grow into happy, well-adjusted

challenges have included sporting feats

young people, with the values and strength

such as triathlons and marathon distances,

of character to do something good with their

leg waxing, car washing, cake baking and


clothing sales. Experiences like these show children the importance of teamwork and determination and teach them to look beyond themselves, appreciate their good fortune and help those with less. Perhaps most importantly, boarding environments teach pupils the importance of tolerance and respect, how to work together to achieve their goals and how to live harmoniously with others. Boarders learn

Paul Sanderson has been Headmaster at Bloxham School since 2013. Before this he was Deputy Head at Gordonstoun, where he also spent three years as a Housemaster. He was an Assistant Housemaster at both Oundle and Lancaster Royal Grammar. Educated at Banbridge Academy, he studied Evolutionary Biology and Genetics at the University of St Andrews and he has a Masters in Educational Research from Cambridge University. At Bloxham, he continues to teach biology and enjoys joining outdoor excursions including climbing.

Building resilience in boarding WHAT IS RESILIENCE? In a report by Public Health England, Building children and young people’s resilience in schools (2014), resilience is described as ‘the capacity to “bounce back” from adverse experiences, and succeed despite adversity.’ The COVID-19 pandemic has most certainly been an adverse experience for children and young people. Elements which promote

schools Thomas Garnier Headmaster, Pangbourne College

resilience, such as regular routines and sleep, physical exercise, access to entertainment, positive family relationships and social support were all affected for a long period of time, so we now have a lot of work to do to build resilience up again.

THE SIGNIFICANCE FOR BOARDERS The report states: ‘While the role of teachers and other school staff is rarely, if ever, as central to resilience-building as that of parents and family, it is still an important element.’ In a boarding school environment, teachers and other staff are permanently acting in loco parentis, so their role in building resilience in boarders under their care is even more significant. Arguably, pupils who board have to immediately call on their reserves of resilience; they are away from their parents and close family, as well as the comforts and familiarity of home, and that’s not easy, especially when you are a young child. This is where experienced, empathetic and resourceful boarding staff are of the utmost importance. Their role is to ensure that boarders are comfortable physically, but also mentally, with the ability to voice their feelings

IT STARTS WITH CULTURE I believe that schools which are successful in fostering resilience in their pupils will have a strong ethos with values at their centre. At Pangbourne College, we have ‘Flag Values’ which include ‘Resilience’ alongside Kindness, Selflessness, Moral Courage, Integrity, Initiative, Industry and Respect.

secure and respectful environment in which all pupils can thrive. Resilience is one of those Flag Values because it is a strength which will support pupils throughout school and beyond. Any pupil or staff member who displays particularly strong resilience is recognised

and concerns and know they will be listened to. It takes a team of people to provide this

For us, the Flag Values underpin

and, on occasion, rewarded. In our

foundation for resilience, which includes

everything we do, from class rewards to

experience, the Flag Values permeate

houseparents, assistant houseparents,

staff recruitment. They are absolutely

through the day-to-day experience of school

matrons, visiting tutors, plus a range of

fundamental to our community as a

and become instilled in pupils over time.

other staff such as teachers and healthcare

boarding school and help to create a



LEARNING TO BE RESILIENT In addition to strong values, schools should provide opportunities within the curriculum for pupils to experience adversity in a safe environment, so that they can practise ‘bouncing back’ and their resilience can be developed. Naturally, our PSHCE curriculum includes a scheme of work on resilience, which we run in the first term of Year 7, and the rest of the programme has resilience embedded throughout. Alongside this, we encourage pupils to undertake all sorts of activities which foster a strong sense of resilience. These include The Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award and the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) programme. We are licensed to provide the three levels of DofE Award: Bronze (which all pupils do in Year 9), Silver and Gold. Around a third of sixth formers do the Gold Award. The combination of volunteering, physical activities, skills-based exercises and challenging expeditions gives an all-round experience which is fun, rewarding and recognises a young person’s journey of selfdiscovery and development. In particular, the expeditions really teach pupils how to dig deep and keep going, despite the sometimes inhospitable environment! The CCF is based on a foundation of strong shared values, disciplined behaviour and selflessness towards others. Cadets

OPPORTUNITIES TO TAKE THE LEAD I believe that trusting young adults to take responsibility for others and to serve others, also helps to build resilience. At Pangbourne, there are many opportunities for older pupils to take up important roles, such as cadet captain (prefect), peer mentor or captain of sports. All these roles involve leading and supporting younger pupils and help pupils grow in confidence, self-esteem and, of course, resilience.

develop effective communication skills and the ability to think clearly in complex

Almost all our senior pupils volunteer to

situations, solve problems and exercise

be trained as peer mentors and exercise

good judgement and initiative. The

responsibility for younger pupils, who

programme has a unique appeal because

may feel more comfortable talking things

it gives pupils the opportunity to do

through with a peer, rather than a member

something completely different.

of staff. Our sixth formers tell me they really

enjoy this aspect of being a student at Pangbourne College and experience a real sense of joy in serving others. So back to my original question, what is resilience? Nelson Mandela said: ‘Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.’ Getting back up, or ‘bouncing back’ – for our pupils this is one of the most important lessons we can teach them.

Thomas Garnier has been Headmaster at Pangbourne College for over 17 years, having previously been Head of Boarding at Abingdon School and an Officer in the Royal Navy.

Boarding schools and philanthropy: engendering an ethos of kindness and compassion

Matthew Godfrey Senior Deputy Head, Downe House School

One of the joys of boarding is being a

Two, and where it welcomed refugees

include an element of education for the

part of an eclectic school community,

from other countries with open arms. Here

wider school community. This could be

offering pupils, families and staff the

is the testimony of Rosemarie C (Downe

through assemblies, displays and talks

opportunity to come together to create

House, 1943): ‘I arrived in December

by pupils, themed evening and weekend

a ‘local community’ that unites and

1938 at the age of 14, a refugee from

events, or visits by representatives from

stretches across the globe.

Austria, with hardly a word of English, to

organisations. Nominations come from

be greeted by Miss Willis in evening dress,

the heart and often reflect very personal

With both pupils and staff living on site,

surrounded by her Samoyed dogs. Thanks

causes, as well as important issues across

boarding offers the extra time together

to her hospitality and caring concern I

the world and topics that affect young

to share and highlight issues that are

was able to continue my education, and

people today, wherever they are.

important locally and globally, but also

in three years I gained admittance to the

personally. Through their house teams,

University of Reading, and subsequently

Different parts of the school are involved

pupils are supported to collaborate, be

to the London School of Economics. The

in longer-term support too. Upper School

creative and bring others with them as they

friendships, the learning and the concern

boarding houses each have an international

share and rally behind causes that are close

for others, were among the invaluable

link charity supported by fundraising events

to their hearts.

riches I enjoyed at Downe House and they

but also by visits from pupils volunteering

have been an inspiration to me throughout

their time. Charities include Hope Asia,

A culture of helping others is part of

my life. Besides myself, there were three or

Open Arms Malawi, Sparkes Home Sri

the very fabric in boarding schools and

four other refugee children during the war

Lanka, Reality Gives India and Tiger

everyone is encouraged to get involved. In

years, who were also given the opportunity

Kloof School, South Africa. Lower School

a boarding environment, it is inherent for

of a new life.’

boarding houses collectively support the OSCAR Foundation. The common theme

pupils to be compassionate and creative, to work collaboratively and, importantly, to be

In recent years, a large proportion of

with these longer-term associations is

outward-looking. At Downe House this is all

charitable activities have been led by

the empowerment of children and young

part of the DNA that evolved from the ethos

pupils with the result that a broad range

people. Generations of boarders have

of kindness established by the school’s

of activities and causes have been

spent their time together productively to

founder, Olive Willis.

supported, reflecting the many cultures and

play their part in forging and maintaining

beliefs represented in a diverse boarding

these strong associations.

2022 marks the centenary of Downe

school community. Pupils are taught to

House on its campus in Cold Ash, where

understand that ‘education has the power

the school stood throughout World War

to change lives’ and as such activities always


DONATING THE GIFT OF TIME Supporting charities local to boarding schools enables pupils to donate the gift of time, and to reach out and give something back to the community where they spend a large part of their young lives. For example, every year at Downe House pupils collectively volunteer more than 1,000 hours supporting local organisations. Schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) actively encourage charitable engagements. For Downe House pupils these have ranged from helping to manage local woodlands, to busking for the charity Swings and Smiles, to supporting the Cottismore Gardens ‘Growing2Gether’ project, which promotes interest and awareness in local food and building a garden facility to enable people with learning difficulties to access horticultural therapy.

In 2022, the swell of support for people affected by the crisis in Ukraine has been felt across the globe. In support of Ukraine, a school concert in March 2022 raised over £2,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) fund via Christian Aid. The school’s choir, Prima Voce, performed A Prayer for Ukraine, learnt over two nights in its original Ukrainian language, and later released on social media to support further donations to the DEC fund (https:// Coordinated by pupils and boarding house staff, the whole school community also supported a local charity, Racing to Help Ukraine, by collecting emergency aid supplies which the charity drove to Ukrainian refugees at the Ukrainian/Polish border with a convoy of horseboxes. The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) has also reported examples of support from its member schools, many of which are boarding schools, for those who have been directly impacted by the invasion of Ukraine. Examples have included raising funds to support the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and providing clothing, food and shelter to Ukrainian refugees. For more information, go to


Matthew is a graduate of Durham University and also holds a Master’s in Education. He started his career with the global consultancy firm Accenture but switched to teaching after seven years in business. He has taught English at secondary schools – both maintained and independent – ever since. He is Senior Deputy Head at Downe House and before this he held posts at Brighton College and Caterham School.

Looking after children and young people’s mental health after COVID-19

I had a heart-breaking meeting with a parent of a child yesterday. She told me a story that was five years in the making and involved almost every type of intervention you would have heard of: doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, social care, you name it, they had either spoken to them or tried it. When I had

David Walker Deputy Head (Pastoral and Wellbeing), Wellington College

a chance to reflect on it, my rather simplistic thought was: ‘How did it come to this?’. When I was young in the 1990s, the umbrella term ‘mental health’ was simply not on our radars; now it seems to be around every corner we turn. The same thought may ring true for others in the generation that is now either parenting or educating today’s children and young people. This can leave us feeling helpless and, at worst, unable to give effective help to those who are struggling.

WHAT IS GOING ON? Issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harm and suicidal ideation have steadily increased and, although the Government has increased funding, the support available through NHS channels has not kept pace with demand. The Government paper Promoting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing: a whole school or college approach2 cites research that in 2020 1 in 6 children aged

There has been a well-documented ‘crisis’1 in

5 to 16 had a probable mental health

the mental health of teenagers (and adults)

disorder – up from 1 in 9 in 2017. The

in recent years, particularly because of the

number of referrals to children and young

COVID-19 pandemic. This article aims to give

people’s mental health services between

some practical suggestions to parents of

April and June 2021 increased by 134%

boarding school pupils about mental health

since the same period in 2020, from just


over 80,000 to 190,000, and up almost 100% from the same three-month period in

2019 (approximately 90,000). Public Health England have concluded that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on young people’s mental health, particularly in females and those with pre-existing mental health concerns. Additionally, there continues to be a significant problem surrounding the stigma attached to mental illness which means that people are less willing to seek help and support, often exacerbating the problem.

AND WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT? Schools are certainly responding to this, and parents may well be noticing an uptick of recent initiatives from school settings. Investment from the leadership of schools is certainly welcome, and it is likely that increasing capacity and attention will help


improve matters. For example, at Wellington we have created a new role called ‘Head of Student Emotional Health and Wellbeing’ and we have appointed a clinical psychologist to the position. She helps me as Deputy Pastoral to ensure that all students in need have an appropriate support plan in place. How about parents? What should they do to best support children and young people? To finish, here are my top five tips for helping children and young people who are struggling to maintain good mental health.

• Communicate throughout: Although stigma is reducing, it is still a powerful force preventing people talking about mental health. Please don’t think you will be the first parents to go to the school to tell them about an issue – you may be surprised how much experience they have. Talk to the school and share your concerns. Seek advice and guidance. Not only will you get the benefit of their expertise and help, but it will support you by feeling that you are part of a team. Once you come out the other side, tell the school what worked and what helped – they are still learning and will appreciate your feedback. Extent of mental health crisis in England at ‘terrifying’ level’, 9 April 2021, The Guardian


Promoting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing: a whole school or college approach, September 2021, Public Health England


Stigma and discrimination, last updated 4 October 2021, Mental Health Foundation


Don’t over-react: If your child comes to you to say things are not right (or if your child’s school has told you about it) then they need to know that you will be able to cope with this and help them get through it. If you react with shock, anger or disbelief, the message they will hear is that you are out of your depth. In those first hours and days you are not expected to have all the answers but remember the power that language has to communicate that you remain the person in their life who loves them unreservedly.

• And don’t under-react: The temptation

• ‘Friends as balloons’: It may not be your

is to explain it away – ‘it’s just a phase’,

child who is struggling but they may tell

‘it’s not that bad’, ‘they are just jumping

you they are worried about a friend. They

on a bandwagon’. Listen, take what they

want to support and listen to their friend,

say at face value and seek professional

but it is clearly getting them down or

support to make a judgement as to the

making them anxious. How can you best

severity of the situation.

advise them? We need to state two things

• Show empathy: It may be very difficult to understand why your beautiful child has decided to self-harm. Your first thought may be one of utter disbelief and amazement – why would anyone do such a thing? But have you ever used unhealthy coping strategies? Have you ever had a hard day and then pushed yourself super-hard in the gym or had a third glass of wine in the evening? Try to understand that whatever the symptoms you are seeing, the causes will be found in the most fundamental aspects of human nature that we all experience.

clearly here – they are not mental health professionals and, secondly, if things are that bad, they should be helping their friend get the appropriate help. Their role is to do all they can to bring light and joy into the friendship. Use the analogy of a balloon: if you keep just blowing air into a balloon without ever playing with it, it will burst. Tie it off and use the balloon to have fun. As the old saying goes: ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’.

David Walker is Deputy Head (Pastoral and Wellbeing) at Wellington College in Berkshire. He has worked in both boarding and day schools and gained experience as a Head of Department and a Housemaster before moving into senior leadership eight years ago. Before his current role at Wellington, David was Head of Senior School at the Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge. David keeps himself happy and well with a weekly game of football, time spent on a mountain bike, enjoying walks with his family and dog, and the occasional glass of wine.


The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – making a difference to young people’s lives

Ruth Marvel CEO, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Since the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) was founded in 1956, it has helped generations of young people develop the skills, resilience and self-belief they need to overcome whatever life throws at them – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh himself described it as a ‘do-it-yourself growing up kit’.

More than six decades later, our mission

When I became CEO two years ago, I was

remains the same: to offer young people

excited to join a charity that makes such

the opportunity to follow their passions,

a huge difference to young people’s lives.

discover new talents and gain transferable

What I didn’t expect was to find myself

skills to help them for years to come, and

steering us through an unprecedented

to make a positive contribution to their


community. To date, more than 6.7 million young people in the UK have done their

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit young

DofE, and we’re positive our impact will only

people hard. We know it has affected

continue to grow.

their mental health, education and job opportunities. Research from The Prince’s

Throughout the decades, the DofE has

Trust has shown that 25 per cent of 16–25

evolved and expanded to reflect young

year olds feel ‘unable to cope with life’,

people’s changing lives. In 1958, two years

increasing to almost 40% among those not

after our creation, the Award – originally

in education, employment or training.

only open to young men – was extended to girls. In 1988, The Duke of Edinburgh’s

But these headlines are only part of the

International Award was established to

story. Time and again through the DofE’s

bring the DofE to more young people

history, young people have shown that,

globally. The International Award is now

when we give them the right tools, there

offered in 130 countries.

are no limits to what they can overcome. And the pandemic is no exception.

In 2020, a quarter of young people who completed their award faced marginalisation or barriers to participating including financial hardship or social exclusion, or required specialist support to do their DofE, such as young offenders or young people with additional needs.   It is times like these when the unique benefits of non-formal education

Sixty-five years after our foundation, the

opportunities like the DofE come to the

DofE is run all over the UK, in schools, youth

fore. It is vital that education providers

clubs. prisons, hospitals, sports clubs and

ensure students have access to the co-

fostering agencies. Our vision is a UK where

curricular learning and activities that can

every young person feels ready to step up

be a critical part of their recovery, both

to the challenges life throws at them. That’s

educationally and socially.

why we’re aiming to reach one million more young people in the UK over the next five

The DofE gives young people skills and

years – a fitting legacy for our patron, the

experiences they cannot get in a classroom

Duke of Edinburgh, whose vision helped

– an opportunity to excel and achieve

change millions of lives.

regardless of their interests, background or abilities. They can choose their own

And we’re working to tailor and expand

challenges, follow their passions and

DofE programmes, to make sure we appeal

discover new skills. It provides a chance to

to and are accessible to even more young

escape, have fun and make friends for life.

people and we continue to evolve to reflect their changing interests and lives. This year

There is clear evidence that co-

we added esports to the Skills section – an

curricular learning boosts academic

activity that’s shown to develop crucial life

achievement, improves wellbeing and

skills like strategic thinking, leadership and

contributes to young people succeeding


in employment. We know from asking our participants that the DofE gives

Those first Award holders in 1956 could

young people transferable skills such

not have dreamt of doing esports for

as teamwork, communication and

their DofE – or updating their progress

time management and develops their

on the go with the DofE smartphone app,

confidence and resilience. The DofE

as today’s participants do. But they would

remains a highly respected and widely

still recognise the heart of the DofE – a

recognised mark of achievement that

‘do-it-yourself growing-up kit’ that can help

can help a young person stand out to

young people get the most out of their

employers. We know employers see so-

lives, whoever they are and whatever they

called ‘soft skills’ as equal to, or more

choose to do.

important than, academic achievements. In the UK, more than 100 top employers,

For more information about The Duke of

including British Gas, Google, ITV and

Edinburgh’s Award go to,

Burberry, endorsed the skills and attributes

email or call

young people develop from their DofE.

01752 727400.


Since joining The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in 2019, Ruth Marvel has developed a strategy which aims to reach out to more young people and ensured they have had the support of the DofE during lockdown. The launch of DofE With a Difference has meant hundreds of thousands of young people could continue their DofE in the face of a pandemic. The introduction of the Resilience Fund also supported thousands of young people to start their DofE despite economic hardship. Before becoming the CEO at the DofE, Ruth was Acting CEO at Girlguiding and before that she was Director of Strategy and Innovation at the disability charity Scope. Ruth spent most of her early career in advocacy, research and public policy roles and she has successfully campaigned for comprehensive disability and human rights and greater investment in social care for disabled people. She has developed one of the sector’s first theories of change, set up an innovation unit, and helped design new ways to measure the social impact of charities. Ruth is passionate about social justice and she has a particular interest in advancing opportunities for young people, social innovation and the power of design thinking to solve social problems. Ruth is a Trustee of GoodGym, and a Fellow of the Clore Social Leadership Programme. She lives in London with her partner Mary and their three children.

Learning modern foreign languages at a boarding school Since its removal from the core GCSE curriculum in 2004, the number of pupils in the UK taking GCSE languages has been in decline. According to a recent survey published by the European Commission, just 38 per cent of people in the UK can speak one foreign language, well below the European Union average of 56 per cent. With A-level courses in some schools becoming unsustainable and university language courses closing, it could be said that the future of modern foreign languages in schools looks bleak. However, the benefits of learning a foreign language are plentiful. As well as the economic benefits of learning languages in terms of improved trading between countries worldwide, languages help us to meet new people, learn new skills and expand career opportunities and they make foreign travel easier. Schools therefore have a responsibility to ensure pupils understand the advantages of studying a foreign language.


Rachel Rees Deputy Head Pastoral, Monmouth School for Girls

In a boarding community where diversity is valued and different cultural backgrounds are celebrated, the study of modern foreign languages is more important than ever. It is important to ensure that pupils receive a broad linguist diet by choosing a linguistic focus and rationale upon which to base the curriculum. In UK schools, this focus is very often on Europe, with French, German and Spanish on the curriculum (although many independent schools also offer Russian, Mandarin, Arabic or Japanese). The aim is to equip pupils with a basic understanding and knowledge of the two main language systems of Europe – the Romance languages of the south and the Germanic languages of the north. It is hoped that having such a rationale will enable pupils to have a positive, enjoyable and informative experience of modern

Germany and Spain were missing from

Oxford German Olympiad is another

language teaching and encourage an

the co-curricular programme with the

popular competition that gives students

awareness of the communities at large,

uncertainty of foreign travel and the

the opportunity to extend their subject

around the world, which share the target

restrictions imposed by the COVID-19

knowledge and compete against other like-

languages and cultures. French is still the

pandemic, but schools still took part

minded linguists at a national level. These

most commonly taught language in English

in online programmes and activities.

opportunities enrich students and build

secondary schools, although over the

At Monmouth School for Girls, Year 9

confidence, giving them the chance to use

last 20 years, there has been a decline in

pupils took part in an online exchange

their language in creative and imaginative

numbers taking French and German with a

programme with a German school where


significant rise in Spanish.

they shared video podcasts to talk about

CELEBRATING CULTURE AND HISTORY Language learning celebrates the cultural traditions and history of the target language while learning about the lifestyle and issues associated with young people today. In modern foreign language departments throughout the UK, the emphasis should be on learning that extends beyond the classroom to allow full engagement and ultimately a love of the language, the country, its people and its culture. This can be achieved in a number of ways.

cultural differences involving the Christmas

Work experience abroad is also a fantastic


addition to any CV and a great way to build confidence, learn new skills and improve

It is important to enthuse and inspire

communicating in the target language. It

pupils by offering a stimulating learning

is something that certainly benefited me

environment within the classroom.

as a sixth-form student and cemented

Competitions are also a great way to

my desire to follow a career in modern

get pupils involved with language. From

languages. Taking part in such initiatives

poetry recitations and Christmas card

also develops vocabulary and a firm grasp

designing to songs and inter-schools

of grammar, enabling pupils to achieve

debating competitions, there are no

their potential in external examinations.

limits to what schools can offer pupils in language activities outside the classroom.

I am always amazed by the creativity of

The Dresden Scholarship programme is

pupils when coming up with ideas to

an excellent initiative, where selected Year

promote languages. There is nothing

Visits or exchange programmes provide

13 students are sent to the University

more satisfying than seeing pupils getting

students with the opportunity to immerse

of Dresden to follow an academic

enthused and excited by something for

themselves in the language and culture of

programme, while living and immersing

which you share a mutual love.

a country. Sadly, annual trips to France,

themselves in student life in the city. The

Here at Monmouth School for Girls, with the Year 9 German Christmas Market trips cancelled, pupils recreated the markets in our own school corridors and ran the stalls themselves, with proceeds going to charity. For European Day of Languages pupils and staff who were fluent in a second language offered a ‘blind date’ of taster lessons to promote their own language. To the delight of all those who participated, pupils interested in learning a new language were randomly allocated lessons in Turkish, Afrikaans, Arabic, Japanese and Hindu, to name but a few of the options on offer. Pupils should be taught the benefit of language learning from an early age. They need to know that all languages are valuable. The acquisition of any language can expand linguistic capability, enhance employability, enrich cultural understanding and provide a valuable resource which helps to overcome communication barriers.

Rachel Rees is Deputy Head Pastoral at Monmouth School for Girls having previously held the post of Director of Sixth Form. Before this, she taught at Langley Park School for Boys in Beckenham and The Ravensbourne School in Bromley. She has 21 years’ experience teaching modern foreign languages throughout the key stages in both state and independent schools. She is completing a MEd in Educational Leadership and Management at Buckingham University.


Find your future Find your Downe House Family-friendly boarding with exceptional pastoral care Outstanding education and extra-curricular provision A beautiful 110 acre woodland campus in Berkshire A world of opportunties for your daughter

Open Days and individual tours available | 01635 204701

“We found friends for life.” - Dhyaana & Georgia

An outstanding independent boarding school for girls aged 11 to 18 years

89% Grades 9-7 GCSE

98% Grades A*-B A Level

94% First-Choice University

26% STEM at University

BSA September 2022 125mm x 185mm.indd 1

28/07/2022 14:07:20

Infinite possibilities


A coeducational boarding and day school set in beautiful grounds in rural Staaordshire. Ages 4-18 DISCOVER MORE AT DENSTONECOLLEGE.ORG BSA_Guide_85x125_Sept22.indd 1

30/06/2022 14:53

Twenty-first century learning – embracing technology to drive a culture of learning

Louise Orton Senior Deputy Head (Academic), Sherborne Girls Sherborne Girls sets out to nurture

Having committed fully in 2019 to

to individual needs and allowed teachers

and inspire a vibrant community of

developing our digital strategy, all our

and pupils to interact with each other

fulfilled, inquisitive and confident

teachers were provided with a Microsoft

more effectively. It facilitated improved

young women who are thoroughly

pen-enabled device, and a training

teacher feedback, quality use of prep

prepared to enter higher education

company spent a week at the school

time, individual organisation, efficient use

and embark on their future lives,

helping every teacher enhance their

of class time, and immediate access to

with a desire to make a difference.

teaching through the use of Microsoft

resources to add interest and experiences

A fundamental part of our vision

OneNote and Teams and pen-enabled

to classroom teaching.

and aim to develop the future

technology. We appointed two digital

generation of twenty-first century

leaders, supported by eight digital

When we went into the first lockdown in

women is ensuring every pupil is

champions, to drive the digital strategy

March 2020, the school was, therefore,

comfortable and confident with

forward, and we implemented regular

well placed and prepared for the

digital technology, appreciating its

staff training sessions and one-to-one

transition from traditional to remote

importance and the opportunities it

workshops with IT professionals.

learning. Teachers and pupils felt

brings. The development of the use

comfortable and confident with the shift

of technology is fully aligned with

The move to pen-enabled devices and

and we were pleased with the positive

our five core values of curiosity,

collaborative software changed the

feedback we received from parents, pupils

courage, compassion, adaptability

impact of the education offered and at

and staff.

and spirituality.

the same time made it more adaptable


support. Training sessions have become

New ways of living and working have made

departmental priorities delivered at a team

it even more important for staff and pupils

or individual level.

to develop their skills of communication, collaboration and teamwork. We have

IMPROVING AND TRANSFORMING LEARNING With pupils back at school, we continued to embrace technology to drive and develop teaching and learning. A learning technologist was appointed to help us develop and refine our digital offering further, inspire staff in the use of technology and investigate new ways in which technology can be used to improve and transform learning.

Numerous areas of common ground were

discovered new ways to connect, share

agreed across departments. For example,

ideas and show support, our horizons have

on a practical level, the use of OneNote and

been broadened and we have engaged with

Teams has been optimised for assignment-

wider and more geographically dispersed

setting and feedback flow. We also

audiences. As such, our community has

addressed the challenges of collecting and

developed a deeper understanding and

storing pupil-made videos, an issue which

political, social and environmental empathy.

had been flagged by teachers in several

Our digital strategy has underpinned all

practical subject areas.

these developments and continues to be a priority as we embrace technology to drive

From a pedagogical perspective, there assessment tools for engaging pupils during live, blended or remote teaching. Pupils are encouraged to be more active participants in the feedback process, responding

We set out to shift the conversation

to personalised comments, which the

from the digital champions to heads of

teacher annotates while recording spoken

department who best understand the

explanations. We are also exploring

individual strengths and needs of their

bespoke projects such as mixed reality in

team. A whole-staff survey provided further

biology, collaborative creative writing in

clarity on individual use of technology,

English and using the model of a head to

comfort level and skill gaps, which in turn

create binaural soundscapes in drama.

helped identify and prioritise appropriate

a culture of learning.

was interest in low- or no-prep formative Louise Orton is Senior Deputy Head (Academic) at Sherborne Girls, responsible for the school’s academic life and provision. She started her teaching career as a mathematics teacher at Queen Anne’s Caversham, where she became Head of Fourth Forms. She spent a short time at Wycombe High, Wycombe Abbey and the British School of Brussels before joining Sherborne Girls. Louise is driven by the challenge of creating an innovative curriculum promoting exploration and investigation in teaching and learning and seeking opportunities to equip pupils for life in the twenty-first century.

The importance of creativity The arts are often considered the poor relation to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, which are seen as vital skills in a modern economy. Indeed, some people regard the arts as a soft option. However, there is now a growing recognition of a critical need for creative thinking and visual skills within the STEM mix, and a new acronym STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering, Arts and Maths) is now preferred by educationalists. This development is exciting and has great potential to attract a whole new cohort of pupils who might otherwise disengage from STEM subjects. Once art and design technology is blended in with the traditional STEM subjects, a more imaginative and innovative picture emerges. STEAM has already gathered significant momentum

Victoria Rose Director of Art, Dauntsey’s

in the US, spearheaded by academics and students at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), who developed a curriculum which brought together the five STEAM subjects. Their goal was to educate the

and certainly the UK has a world-class

world of academia about the importance

reputation for art and design, going back

of incorporating creative thinking and visual

centuries. But how many people have heard

learning in the classroom.

of British designer Sir Jonathan Ive? He was Chief Design Officer of Apple and he

This is not a new concept – think of the

designed the iPhone, iPad and MacBook.

Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci,

Without his design genius, Apple would

who was a master not only of art but also

essentially be an engineering company.

scientific invention. Or more recently, the

Creativity is the magic ingredient that turned

Industrial Revolution in Great Britain when

Apple into the multi-billion dollar business

art, science and engineering were close and

that it is today. Giants like Tesler, Apple and

successful companions.

Google frequently recruit individuals who

CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION Creativity and imagination can set you apart in a world where technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are taking over many roles. Indeed, few jobs in the creative industries are at risk of automation. The iterative process involved in studying creative subjects leads pupils to constantly question their work and want to improve or add and try new approaches; a valuable skill in the workplace – and in life.

have a creative rather than technical

A report published in 2019 by the Durham

The Design Council argues that good design

background. They are hired for their design

Commission on Creativity and Education

capability can boost the UK’s competitiveness

talent, innovation and problem-solving skills.

agreed that creativity is the driver of


Victoria Rose held a range of roles in the creative industry and education before she became Director of Art at Dauntsey’s. She began her career as an art director in an advertising agency, where she gained awards for advertising effectiveness and creativity. She then began her own business as a freelance artist, illustrator and designer. She has exhibited at numerous venues and as a member of the Association of Illustrators she was also selected for the Best of British Illustration awards three years in a row. Victoria has also lectured on an Art and Design Foundation course. She uses this experience at Dauntsey’s to help pupils discover their artistic talents and understand how these talents are relevant to careers in the creative industry.

economic growth and innovation, stating that

the most watched TED talks of all time the

students to take thoughtful risks, engage

our national economy has been boosted

late educationalist Sir Ken Robinson argued

in experiential learning, persist in problem-

by the success of the creative industries in

that creativity is as important as literacy and

solving, embrace collaboration and work

the past ten years. Such success will only

should be given equal status. He defined

through the creative process in order to

increase, the report continues, as long as

creativity as ‘the process of having original

produce innovative results. These are skills

we can ensure that young people are given

ideas that have value’.

for the world of work beyond the classroom and further education. These are skills for

the opportunity to experience and develop skills in art, drama, music, design, craft and

No longer should Art A level be seen as an

digital awareness – the foundation of the

easy option. Creative subjects encourage

creative industries. The report concludes that creativity is now one of the most sought after clusters of skills for all employers. Encouraging young people from as early an age as possible to engage in art and design and value these subjects as much as maths and other subjects, is a critical first step in establishing a STEAM culture in the UK. In doing so we will develop in pupils the skills of problem-solving, independent thinking, planning, development, organisation, communication and presentation. Many schools understand the opportunity offered by these subjects but there needs to be a greater investment in creativity in all schools, in all parts of the country. In one of


Teaching empathy Damian Todres Director of Drama and Head of the Creative Arts Faculty, Wells Cathedral School

Consider the experience of being

capacities that will empower them to

a boarder in the twenty-first

thrive in an unknowable future. And

century – tentatively exploring ‘who

here we come to an old idea. Aristotle’s

I am’ through the glaring lens of

concept of phronesis or ‘practical

relentless social media feeds, with

wisdom’ is an intelligence gathered

the emotional burdens of ‘always

from practical action and creativity that

on’ connectivity, commentary and

ultimately informs a person how to ‘be’

unprecedented self-comparison to

in the world. Concerned with not only

peers. Add to this the worries of

the ‘head’ (what to know) but crucially

climate change, political upheaval

also with the ‘hand’ (how to act) as well

and the arrival of a game-changing

as the ‘heart’ (how to feel), Aristotle

global pandemic. Such psychological

emphasised the significance of not only

pressures are compounded by the

‘what to know’ but also ‘how to know’.

rapid pace of technological change, where more than half of children entering primary school today will end up working in completely new jobs that don’t yet exist. How can our children and young people be better prepared to cope in such a world? Drama may hold the key. An indication of this direction of travel can be seen in a recent World Economic Forum report The Future of Jobs 2020 (https://www. The report notes that employers are prioritising creativity and emotional intelligence. These more ‘human’ skills are seen to balance the trend towards artificial intelligence and machine learning. As a result of the cultural and employment challenges facing our young learners today we may need to re-evaluate the kinds of knowledge and

EMPATHIC THINKING So how do we provide opportunities to facilitate practical wisdom and emotional intelligence in our schools? I believe that teaching and learning drama is a compelling answer. By embodying characters from other times and places, drama uses the universality of human experience to uncover shared emotional and personal connections. Drama can develop perspectives between ‘self’ and ‘other’ through its inherently social and collaborative methods of working, encouraging empathic thinking and behaviour. During the iterative process of creating a piece of drama, creativity and imagination help to provide a transformative space of possibility that supports the development of practical wisdom, kindness, healing and understanding – qualities that transfer readily to the wider life of the pupil.

With its consideration of multiple perspectives, drama explicitly teaches what many consider to be one of the most urgent capacities in education: empathy. The word ‘empathy’ originates from the German philosophical term Einfühlung (‘feeling into’) and the Greek root pathos, which translates as ‘emotion, suffering and pity’. It is now understood to mean the ability to move beyond ourselves in order to understand the feelings and experiences of others. A facility to empathise enables the skills of collaboration, complex problemsolving and cognitive flexibility needed to negotiate life in a busy boarding school, as well as developing other critical emotional intelligences necessary for adulthood in the twenty-first century.


The late educationalist Ken Robinson made an urgent call for empathy as the next educational disruptor – he believed that many of the problems children face are rooted in failures of empathy. The ability to ‘feel into’ can facilitate the development of a child or young person experiencing challenges into an agile, resourceful and resilient adult. As a drama teacher, this concern with practical wisdom and empathy has led me to pursue my own research focusing on dramaturgical strategies that enable pupils to develop and deepen their foundational human capacity to imagine the world of another; a competency that may help them to adapt and thrive together in the modern world of an unknowable future. Children and young people face an unprecedented scale of challenge and by refining our approach to not only ‘what’ kind of knowledge is useful but more importantly, ‘how’ to know it, I believe we are giving them every chance to succeed in whatever landscape they find themselves in after their time with us. They deserve nothing less.

Damian Todres is Director of Drama and Head of the Creative Arts Faculty at Wells Cathedral School, winner of Independent School of the Year 2020 in the Performing Arts category. This article is drawn from his final University of Oxford MSc dissertation entitled ‘Imagining the Other’, which investigated how educators can facilitate and explicitly teach empathy.

Recognising the physical and mental value of sport Rob Kift Director of Sport, Hurst College

The physical and mental wellbeing

continue to develop when they leave

to become élite performers. And sport

of pupils is central to a boarding

school. Hurst also offers a unique

for all not only includes a school’s

school’s sports offering. Sport is a

player welfare programme, with

own pupils but also other schools and

crucial part of boarding school life.

qualified physiotherapists who triage

organisations in the local community.

It provides a healthy and active

and monitor injuries and support

With excellent facilities and a

lifestyle, promotes good physical and

rehabilitation, as well as providing

sustained programme of development,

mental wellbeing, teaches teamwork

pitch-side cover on match days. Pupils

many boarding schools have the

and leadership skills, and develops

also benefit from clinic time and

capacity to host major sporting events.

resilience, determination and many

rehabilitation during the week. This

For example, Hurst created the Sussex

other important life skills.

forms part of the college’s wellbeing

Independent School Diamond League

programme which includes strength

Athletics Programme, one of many

All independent schools aim to create

and conditioning, sports analysis and

community initiatives which have

an activity diet that engages all pupils

individual mentoring.

proved popular. The college has also forged strong links with maintained

in an enjoyable, challenging and meaningful way, through traditional team sports, individual sports and outdoor pursuits – encouraging them to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle. Through these activities pupils learn important life skills and often choose at least one sport they wish to

SPORT FOR ALL Another key element for a boarding school is the importance of sport for all. All pupils should be given equal opportunities to be involved in sport – pupils who simply want to participate just as much as pupils who are or aim

schools by hosting development days, as well as being a hub for Surrey Storm Netball South and Sussex County Cricket academies, a feeder for the Harlequins Rugby Development Programme and the base for Sussex Hockey. As with many boarding


schools, Hurst also organises and plays host to regional and national competitions and events in a variety of sports. The driving force behind a high-quality school sports programme is successful collaboration with pupils and parents as well as a constant desire to improve. Schools not only strive to establish a reputation for the quality, breadth and inclusivity of their sporting provision, but also for the passion and commitment of their staff who aim to ensure that each pupil develops a lifelong love of sport and physical activity. Hurst’s excellent staff coaching team is supported by professional coaches, who are all experts in their fields. With the unprecedented circumstances

Our autumn term began with athletics,

Hurst won the Sporting Achievement award

surrounding COVID-19 lockdown, many

cross-country events and cricket – which

in the Independent Schools of the Year

school sports departments responded to

took place throughout the winter months.

2020 Awards for our focus on recognising

the unique challenge of remote learning

We met the requirement for pupils to be

the physical and mental value of sport

by implementing alternative ways of

in year group bubbles by introducing some

and sharing the benefits with the wider

engagement to deliver a comprehensive

temporary facilities, such as a golf driving

community, including the children of key

programme, including onsite options for

range and a marquee to house aerobics

workers during lockdown.

children of key workers. This creative and

and spin classes. Although matches against

dynamic approach continued when pupils

other schools were suspended, more house

returned in September 2020 for the new

competitions and intramural fixtures were

academic year. For obvious reasons schools

introduced as an alternative and most

made it a priority for pupils to be outside

of these took place during the Saturday

in the fresh air as much as possible and

programme of sport, when external fixtures

this challenged sports departments to be

are normally played.

inventive with the options they offered, using facilities to their best advantage.

Rob Kift has been Director of Sport at Hurst College since 1995 and is also President of the Common Room. Rob joined the college in 1990 as Assistant Director of Sport. He was the first Head of Academic PE and a Housemaster for five years.

The importance of pastoral care

Andrew Russell Headmaster, St David’s College

Since it was established in 1965,

Modern families want their children to be

Genuinely exceptional pastoral care is

St David’s College has always placed

educated in a nurturing environment where

constant and permeates throughout a

enormous value in focusing on the

they can learn in a family atmosphere.

pupil’s educational experience. Pastoral

individual and supporting each pupil to

Matrons traditionally had an important part

care can be in the classroom, part of

realise the potential of their own gifts –

to play in the pastoral structure of boarding

co-curricular activities, on outdoor education

giving them the freedom to flourish.

schools and although the role – and often the

expeditions or during preparations for a

title – has changed in many schools, there

school production or concert. Continued

When parents are looking for the right

remains a need for someone outside the

support and guidance prepares pupils for

boarding school for their family, three of the

academic staff to provide this pastoral role.

the world after they leave school. Providing

most important questions they usually have

How this is achieved varies from school to

opportunities to grow, work as a team,

are: Where will my child sleep? What will they


develop resilience and leadership skills, and most importantly the will to never give up, will

eat? Who will support them? In the past, support may have been academically focused but now more than ever there is a need for pastoral support. Pastoral care is a school commitment to the wellbeing of every pupil and is always at its best when the pupils are at the centre of everything the school does. Pastoral

TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION Two-way communication between pastoral staff/houseparents and pupils is key. Pupils must feel comfortable enough to go to staff with any worries or concerns. Staff strive to get to know their pupils as well as possible and make themselves available to them – in the case of houseparents, this can be 24/7.

help to carry each pupil throughout their life. When every child feels safe in the knowledge that they are a valued member of the community, their true potential can be discovered, nurtured and given the freedom to flourish.

care programmes consider many different elements of a pupil’s life in the school.

Feedback from pupils about their thoughts on

Physical activity, social inclusion, emotional

pastoral care provision is critical. They are the

support and intellectual development are

ones who are experiencing the care and their

all key to the happiness of any child in an

feelings will be important in making sure the

independent school. Happy, content children

support provides exactly what they need. This

with a positive attitude are more likely to

is why an open dialogue between pupils and

approach their studies with focus and a

staff is so important.

willingness to learn.

Andrew Russell became Headmaster of St David’s College in 2017. After studying accounting and economics at the University of Southampton, Andrew was an accountant before becoming a teacher. He joined St David’s 29 years ago and during that time he has been Head of Maths, Head of Careers, Tryfan Housemaster, Assistant Head and Deputy Head. He was drawn to St David’s because it combines his passions – teaching and being in the outdoors.


GDST Boarding in Bath. Pioneering girls’ education. Nursery | Prep | Senior | Sixth Form

Girls making their mark Royal High School Bath @RoyalHighBath

Full, weekly and flexible boarding options Find out more

Boarding in the North of England

Jeremy Walker Head Master, St Peter’s School, York

The North of England is understandably

of history and culture along with modern

Minster to museums, ancient city walls, art

a popular choice for boarders and their

dynamism. York is a popular and dynamic

galleries and an exciting range of festivals

families. With vibrant cities, stunning

hub with a sense of history around every

and events throughout the year.

coastlines and spectacular landscapes,

corner, and with large cosmopolitan cities

the North attracts boarders from

nearby such as Leeds and Newcastle and

St Peter’s combines city living with outdoor

across the UK and beyond. This area

the beauty of Durham, there is something

space for children to grow and thrive.

of the UK is renowned for its friendly

here for everyone.

Despite being just five minutes’ walk away

communities, and a warm welcome awaits boarders who choose to call the North of England their home. There is a range of boarding options available to suit the needs of each individual child. Whether you are looking for city-centre vibrancy or rural tranquillity, you will find the perfect setting for your child in the North of England. Its cities offer an ideal blend

from the centre of York, boarders can also

HISTORIC CITY OF YORK At St Peter’s School, pupils are fortunate to have the historic city of York on their doorstep. York is frequently voted as one of the best places to live in the UK and it has a rich history with the city as we now know it dating back to the Roman period. It is the perfect place for boarders to explore on weekends, from the magnificent York

enjoy the freedom offered by the school’s 50-acre campus on the banks of the River Ouse. Beyond the cities, the North of England also offers many opportunities for adventure and exploration. From Northumberland to East Yorkshire, the stunning coastline is popular with schools as a destination for educational


Our northern schools have some of the most successful school sports teams in the country.

visits. Whitby is especially popular and pupils can regularly be found combing the coast at Flamborough Head on geography field trips. Northern England is also home to several Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and three National Parks: the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors and the Lake District National Park, which has recently been added to the list of UNESCO

TRANSPORT CONNECTIONS The North of England enjoys access to several international airports including Manchester, Leeds, Doncaster and Newcastle, and many schools are also well connected to London by train. York is under 2 hours by train from London while Newcastle is 3½ hours by train from London, making these cities easily accessible for UK and international boarders.

World Heritage Sites. Whether boarders are studying in cities or in the countryside, these

With so much to offer, it is hardly surprising

stunning landscapes are easily accessible on

that places at boarding schools in the


North of England have become increasingly attractive in recent years and with a large

Our northern schools have some of the

military presence it is a popular area for

most successful school sports teams in the

Service families.

country, and offer music, art and drama to the highest standard plus CCF, The

Founded in 627 AD, St Peter’s School is

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and a wide

the third oldest school in the country.

range of activities and clubs. Combined

It was named The Sunday Times North

with exemplary pastoral care, this means

Independent School of the Year in 2019 and

pupils can experience absolutely everything

Tes Independent School of the Year 2021.

on offer at school and still have time to relax and make lifelong friendships in their boarding houses.

Jeremy Walker has been Head Master at St Peter’s since 2019. He spent his school days as a full boarder and was educated at Sherborne School and Oxford University. Previous roles have included Principal of King’s School Rochester, Headmaster of Berkhamsted Sixth and Housemaster and Head of RS and Theory of Knowledge at Ardingly College.


Boarding at sixth-form colleges Independent boarding schools have a long history of creating well-rounded pupils with excellent results. Most pupils beginning an A-level course or an International Foundation Programme are striving to gain the best possible grades and complete a challenging programme of academic study, and also yearning to exercise their independence. In many cases these two can act in competition with one another, with young people rushing to celebrate their freedom without the life skills and experience they need to manage this.

Dr Julian Davies Principal, Abbey College, Cambridge

At an independent sixth-form college the

or advise pupils with their assignments

new things helps to develop a pupil’s

journey to independence is supported and

or respond to academic needs, ensures

resilience and confidence and also allows

skills are introduced and practised in a safe

that class time can be more productive.

for the introduction and progression of

environment, while academic progression

Pupils can be taught study skills and then

skills. As young adults, pupils are also

is monitored and the whole pupil nurtured

the process can be actively monitored

encouraged to help organise, promote

and developed. The outcome is a resilient

and developed so that the end result is

and manage activities, giving them a real

and independent learner prepared to take

a pupil who can work efficiently and with

sense of ownership and an opportunity

the next step in life on to university or a

confidence. Instilling a strong work ethic in

to engage in the passions they have

chosen career path.

all pupils is important, but teaching them

outside the classroom. Time spent in these

to overcome setbacks and to persevere is

co-curricular activities is time well spent – it

also paramount to their future success.

ensures pupils enjoy their time in the sixth

Considering the most obvious key requirement for academic progression, the attainment of outstanding academic results, boarding provides an excellent ‘outof-hours’ support system for learning. Once in the sixth form most pupils are trusted to manage their workload accordingly, but having subject specialists on hand to help

form, and helps to develop their ability to

CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES The very nature of boarding allows for many more opportunities for co-curricular activities. Introducing pupils to a variety of activities ensures they are inspired and open to new experiences and skills. Trying

manage their work and life balance so the ‘whole child’ can flourish. At Abbey College Cambridge we have more than 50 clubs and an extensive programme of trips and activities: pupils can complete first-aid training, visit places of interest across the



country, learn an instrument, join the drama group, learn circus skills or origami – there is something for everyone. Boarding at a sixth-form college gives pupils the opportunity and challenge they need to develop a broader spectrum of life skills. Washing their clothes, making good dietary choices, looking after their health (physical and mental), managing their workload and living in a communal setting are just a few examples of the skills that prepare them for adulthood and independent living.

PUPILS FROM AROUND THE WORLD Boarding at an independent sixth-form college means living with a host of other pupils from around the world. This in itself is an important experience and ensures pupils become comfortable with cultures, languages and religions that are different from their own. At Abbey College Cambridge we have pupils from 48 nationalities. Each nationality is recognised and celebrated while the whole community is brought together through the shared love of learning and the involvement in co-curricular interests.

to compromise and empathise. It also

confidence to deal with new situations and

requires responsibility and commitment,

can adapt to life at university successfully

and teaches young people how to establish

because strong foundations have been put

equality while recognising differences

in place.

and celebrating them. Pupils can learn to communicate at the highest level, making lifelong friendships and establishing international contacts for the future. The time pupils spend at an independent sixth-form college is very special. It bridges the gap between school and university, childhood and adulthood. Pupils enjoy the experience while receiving the best

Living in a community requires many

possible training in how to navigate

skills and abilities such as being able

life independently. They gain the inner

Dr Julian Davies was awarded a PhD for his thesis on the biological response to climate change in Antarctica and a holds a BSc in Applied Biology. He began his career as an industrial scientist before joining the teaching profession. On joining Abbey College, Julian introduced boarding as an option for pupils and led the relocation of the college to a purpose-built boarding campus in Cambridge. The college now has more than 400 international boarding pupils living and studying in the campus.

BSA Certified Agent and Guardian schemes Caroline Nixon, International and Membership Director, Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) and Director, British Association of Independent Schools with International Students, and Ammy Davies-Potter, Director of Guardianship and Inclusion, BSA

The BSA Certified Agent and Guardian schemes were launched just over a year ago. So far 54 agents and 44 guardians have signed up to the schemes, with more joining all the time. The training and certification programmes for the schemes provide reassurance to families. Parents can be assured they are dealing with educational agents and guardians with the highest standards in terms of safeguarding, safer recruitment and training of staff and host families, knowledge of the UK education system and careful liaison with schools. The schemes also provide a clear demonstration to BSA boarding schools of the quality and intention of the educational agents and guardians who reach certified status. Finding a suitable educational agent can be a time-consuming process for parents, but it is an absolutely vital one. Even when parents have a good knowledge of the UK education system, this may not be up to date and it is almost impossible for parents to have an informed overview of all the different schools available when trying to choose the one most suitable for their individual child. The BSA’s recent survey of Chinese parents showed that agents have a major influence when it

The BSA Certified Agent scheme is

emotionally and physically safe and

essentially doing parents’ due diligence,

there is good communication and

ensuring agents in the scheme

relationships between them and the

demonstrate a clear and current

adults looking after them. This is a

understanding of the UK education

vital aspect of a successful school

system and the different types of


schools, getting to know the child’s and the family’s needs, recommending

Parents can choose a BSA Certified

schools that are right for individual

Guardian with confidence, secure in the

children, and maintaining the highest

knowledge that the guardian has met

standards of integrity in placing and

the high standards required through a

supporting each child.

rigorous inspection process. Knowing

In terms of guardians, the survey of Chinese parents showed that 82 per cent highlighted the importance of having assurance around a guardian’s certification – and this is what the BSA Certified Guardian scheme provides. Similar to the criteria agents are required to meet, guardians must demonstrate the highest standards in terms of their interaction with schools, parents and pupils, showing they meet strict assurance requirements for all aspects of safeguarding.

comes to choosing a boarding school,

For international pupils, an educational

with 74 per cent relying on an agent’s

guardian who can provide high quality

recommendation. So it is important

support and guidance is invaluable.

to be sure an agent has integrity and

Pupils are much more likely to reach

knowledge of the school and family and

their full potential if they feel

this is what the scheme aims to do.

the guardian is committed to providing a high-quality service can really make a difference to their child’s school journey. For more information about the BSA Certified Agent scheme and a full list of Certified Agents, go to: https://www. There is also a list of Certified Agents in this Guide. For more information about the BSA Certified Guardian scheme and a full list of Certified Guardians, go to: https:// bsa-certified-guardian-scheme/ There is also a list of Certified Guardians in this Guide.


BSA certified guardians

BSA certified agents

Abby Plumb Education Guardian Service

JD Consultancy


Global Education Tumulka (GET)

Academic Families

Oxbridge Guardians

Abby Plumb Education Guardian Service

Golden Apple Tree

Access UK Education

Overseas Personal Development Services

Academic Asia China Ltd

HKIES Overseas Education Centre

Alpha Guardians

Redoor Education

Academic Families

i-Learner, Nebula Group Ltd

Amber Education

Regent Guardians

Intake Education

Belgravia Guardians

Robin Education


Berkeley Guardians

Scottish Overseas Guardianship Association (SOGA)

Boarding Schools Ireland Cambridge Guardian Angels Carfax Guardians Clarendon International Education College Guardians Connexcel Cotswold Guardians Edinburgh Guardian Angels Education and Exchange in Europe Elite Anglo-Chinese Services English Country Guardians Gabbitas Genesis Education Planning Great British Guardians Guardians International Support High Schools International Host-Link Hyde Global Education International Student Guardianship Ireland (ISGI) IQ Consultancy

Anglo International Student Centre ApplyEasyPro

See World

Aston Education

St George’s Guardians

Baltic Council for International Education

Study Links

Barbara Glasmacher Internationale Schulberatung

The Guardian Family Network Trusted Guardianship UK Guardians UKGuardianship UK Tuition UM Education Ying Lang Guardian, Glamour Edu Ltd

BeGo Education Better School! Internatsberatung Beyond Education Blue Dot Education BOSSS UK Britannia StudyLink British United Education Services Carfax Consultants Chamberlain Educational Services html Cherry Education Consultancy Connexcel Convoy Education Crest Education Dickinson School Consulting EduExcellence Consulting Services Edukatus Genesis Education Planning

Intergreat Education Group IQ ITEC IQ Consultancy J3 Group Ltd JD Consultancy Kulturwerke Deutschland Sprachreisen Mark Brooks Education Meridian Group Overseas Personal Development Services Panoba Ltd Petra Heinemann Internationale Schulberatung Prime UK Education QED Education Group Rise Smart Overseas Education Centre Sarah Jochums Internatsberatung School Britannia Sino-UK Arts & Cultural Bridge The Independent Education Consultants UK Academics & Guardianship (UKAG) UK Education Guide Ltd UK Tuition and Services Watanabe Office

The advantages of starting boarding in a prep school Boarding is very much alive and kicking in IAPS member schools. Of the quarter of a million pupils who are educated in the 607 UK member schools, about 8 per cent are classified as boarders. However, 40 per cent of IAPS members offer some form of boarding. More than half of those who board are described

Christopher King Chief Executive, Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS)

as ‘flexible’ boarders and about 10 per cent are weekly boarders. The number of prep school boarders has largely returned to pre-pandemic numbers although as a result of the pandemic there has been a decline in schools that have traditionally recruited full-time

when this is true but the week by week,

A night or two boarding can make accessing

term by term drivers of this approach are

these things so much easier for the pupil

rooted in something more solid.

and take the pressure off the family. The importance of taking pressure off the family

IAPS schools are characterised, of course,

is not to be underestimated. For all the talk

mainland China.

by their holistic educational offer – a full-on,

about family-friendly policies, very often

extended day stocked up with co-curricular

the hours parents are required to work are

What conclusion can we draw from all

activities. In order to access such activities

anything but friendly.

this? A very significant number of IAPS

it can make very good sense to stay on at

schools find their parents and prospective

school rather than have to travel home late

parents value the opportunity to take up

in the day, fall into bed, only to get up again

the flexibility our schools have built into

the next morning. When the daylight hours

their offer. The lazy characterisation is

stretch out and sporting events run into the

that signing their child up for a few days

evening the ability to board allows pupils to

of boarding every week releases parents

fully engage with such events. Rehearsals,

to pursue social activities of their own

concerts, inter-school debates and House

choosing. There may be some occasions

events can be scheduled for the evenings.

boarders in significant numbers from

A CARING AND FUN EXPERIENCE Boarding in IAPS schools is a caring and fun experience. No doubt regulatory changes have played their part in driving the improvements in boarding provision with regards to the physical environment. All our schools are very sensitive to the need for robust safeguarding procedures so each

child is cared for in a safe and nurturing environment. However, as good as the pastoral care undoubtedly is in an IAPS school that offers boarding, it is probably the fact that it is seen as great fun by the children which is why they want to board. Indeed ‘fun’ is probably the most often cited reason for children to board in IAPS schools’ websites. Boarding gives children the chance to fully immerse themselves in the life of the school, doing everything from night hikes to netball, cricket to campfires and all in the company of their friends. Joint experiences in the real, not the virtual, world, where they can share experiences which can be relived throughout their lives. What’s not to enjoy?

Christopher King is Chief Executive of IAPS. Before that he was Headmaster and Chief Executive of Leicester Grammar School Trust. He was Chairman of the Headmaster’s and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) in 2015–16 and, unusually, again in 2017–18. Christopher is a Director of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) board and a member of Leicester University Council.

With kind permission of Godstowe Preparatory School

With kind permission of Sherborne Preparatory School


The popularity of prep school


Dr Trevor Richards Head, All Hallows Preparatory School In today’s rapidly changing and

The key role of a preparatory school lies in

to boarding can be hard for parents too

demanding world, where our view of

the name – to prepare. For pupils planning

and an insight into day-to-day life, via an

life is distorted by social media and

on boarding for the next stage of their

active blog or social media, reassures them

expectations of our young people are

education, prep schools can give them a

their children are engaging with others and

high, our prep boarding schools offer

priceless opportunity to board in a familiar

immersing themselves in all that is on offer.

children an oasis into which they can

environment, surrounded by their friends.


A child who started flexi-boarding in Year 5

All prep boarding schools want their

and increased this to weekly or full boarding

pupils to be in a triangle of care (child–

With the jam-packed extra-curricular

by the end of Year 8 is likely to settle far

parent–boarding staff) and this means

programmes that are part and parcel of any

more quickly into a new school, taking full

fostering a close relationship between

school offering boarding at this younger

advantage of all that is on offer, than a

families and school. Acting in loco parentis

age, children can be children and throw

child who has had little or no experience of

at All Hallows means our staff value regular

their energy into activities, hobbies and


communications and meetings with parents. These allow us to deal with any questions or

interests in the company of their friends, perhaps discovering new passions along the

For new boarders, taster days and letters

concerns before they become an issue and

way. At times, our boarding schools may be

from future classmates help to make them

to ensure our parents have total confidence

likened to holiday camps but, with a routine

feel welcomed. Keeping in touch with their

in the school.

structure in place to complete any prep or

families is so easy with modern technology

homework, and without the need to travel to

and regular video calls allow parents to

Lifelong friendships are made through

and from school on a daily basis, there is still

feel at ease about their children, helping to

the shared experiences and challenges

plenty of time left for relaxation.

replicate those end-of-day chats in the car or

that come from living in a community.

around the kitchen table, even though they

At All Hallows, pupils grow and develop

may be miles away.

emotionally, learning social skills and

A generation or two ago, it was unusual for

supporting each other along the way. These

both parents to work, whereas today the opposite is true. Parents often have long

Although mobile phones and tablets help

skills will stand them in excellent stead as

days and overnight stays away from home.

with communication, extended use of these

they move on to face new challenges at their

It is no wonder therefore that the popularity

can be isolating and so access should be

senior schools and beyond as happy, well-

of flexi or weekly boarding is on the rise.

limited to ensure children are interacting

adjusted individuals.

For ‘full’ boarders, having their various day

with each other. Set times for calling home

friends boarding regularly on a ‘flexi’ basis

can establish expectations from both sides

creates a busy and vibrant boarding house,

but flexibility over this is key and at All

making it an exciting, dynamic and energetic

Hallows, if a pupil needs to phone home, we

place to be.

do all we can to facilitate this. The transition

Dr Trevor Richards has been Head of All Hallows Preparatory School in Somerset since 2017, having been associated with the school for over 20 years. Married to Jeanna, Trevor is an educationalist and a child psychologist. He attended the University of Liverpool before gaining QTS from the University of Bath. He later took his Doctorate of Educational Psychology at the University of Bristol.


Don’t just ‘go to school’... ...throw yourself in!

Yorkshire b school for boarding and day oys and girls

Flexible Boarding from Year 5

Arrange a personal visit

Find out more and register 01729 893000 | |

Award winning boarding for boys Excellence in the heart of England Established in 1495, Loughborough Grammar School is one of the UK’s oldest independent boys’ schools. In our three boarding houses, sitting within our beautiful campus, we extend the warmest welcome and the best possible education to the boarders who are part of our thriving School Community.

• Exceptional extra-curricular opportunities in Sport, the Arts and Music • 78% of A Level leavers go on to study at top British universities • Excellent travel links to the UK’s main airports • Award winning cultural programme and pastoral support +44 (0)1509 233233

The benefits of prep school boarding

Robert Lankester Headmaster, Maidwell Hall

Say goodbye to school runs, endless testing and tutoring, mobile phones (at least in some prep schools) and chauffeuring increasingly frustrated children to endless after-school clubs. Instead, say hello to climbing trees, muddy knees and a carefree childhood.

and good mental health. However, these

disinclined to commit to anything. At

days many social factors have created

a boarding school, children can have

a world that prohibits children from

much greater independence and a sense

enjoying the benefits of this kind of

of their own responsibilities. If this can

freedom, with the result that parents

develop in a homely and comforting

feel they have to ‘helicopter’ them. A

atmosphere then the result should be

prep boarding education gives children

children learning life-enhancing skills

the independence to play with their

such as making their own decisions

friends and a freedom that helps them to

without even realising they are doing so.

Have you thought about prep school

Learning some of the harder lessons


in life in your childhood is natural and

develop and enjoy their childhood, with all the positive mental and physical health attributes this brings.

WHEN TO START BOARDING? So it’s clear there are many benefits to boarding, but when is the ideal time to start and which type of boarding should you choose?

gives you an emotional resilience that There is no doubt that a country

is beneficial later in life. For example,

Over the past 20 years there has been a

education can bring greater freedom,

decision-making – it’s very easy for

steady trend towards children boarding

space and time. We used to live in an age

parents to make all the decisions for

at a slightly older age. Children who

where children could play in the streets

their children, trying desperately to

wish to board at their senior schools

and explore with their friends, having

make life easier. Except that it doesn’t

routinely join boarding prep schools for

a level of independence that has been

– parents simply become exhausted

one year only or even a term or two.

shown to build resilience, individuality

and the children can become ‘flaky’ and

But however excellent the pastoral care


“Many prep schools now offer flexi-boarding or a transitional arrangement, allowing pupils to make a gradual change to full boarding.”

at senior schools, you cannot replicate

homesickness and it’s an emotion

the small, cosy, nurturing feel of a small prep school, which can be a softer way to settle into boarding life. Many prep schools now offer flexiboarding or a transitional arrangement, allowing pupils to make a gradual change to full boarding. This can make it easier for children to be part of the decisionmaking. However, do be aware that parttime boarding does not always offer all the benefits mentioned. So when is the right time to start boarding? The answer as always is when it suits your family’s circumstances and when your child is ready (and preferably clamouring to start!) – and in my opinion, the sooner the better.

WHAT ABOUT HOMESICKNESS? Another big question for many families

that can be felt at any age – many

is whether homesickness is an issue for

young adults experience overwhelming

children who board. There are plenty

homesickness when they leave home to

of eight-year-old full boarders and it is

go to university. Learning how to handle

remarkable how quickly they adjust. It is

emotions like these is a lifeskill that is

certainly not my experience that younger

best developed in childhood and in a kind

children are more homesick than older

and nurturing environment such as a

children. In fact, we see very little

prep boarding school.

Robert Lankester has worked in boarding schools for 30 years. Previously Housemaster and Senior Housemaster at Uppingham, he has been Headmaster at Maidwell Hall since 2001. Educated at Charterhouse and Selwyn College, Cambridge, he spent seven years in the City before making the change to teaching, which he describes as the best decision he ever made. Robert believes strongly in the benefits that boarding brings, having seen how it encourages children to be independent, live with their peers harmoniously and grow in confidence.



Gareth Jones Headmaster, Bilton Grange

About 17 years ago, I found myself

instilling a multi-cultural awareness

standing on a large concourse at the

in our increasingly globalised society.

foot of an enormous favela in Rio de

Boarding schools arguably do this

Janeiro. Around me were concrete

better than most.

walls patterned with bullet holes and poorly built slums rising up the hill. As if I wasn’t already humbled by the poverty-stricken nature of the location itself, it was the fact that in front of where I stood were dozens of children from the favela playing makeshift drums made out of bottles and cans and teaching the mostly British children I was with how to do the same. They shared their rhythm and love of music, they taught us the dancing martial art of Capoeira, and their sheer enthusiasm and musicality broke down barriers that might otherwise have existed between children from different nations. Right there I saw that music is a universal language.

From the earliest age, we are comforted by music. As we progress through early developmental milestones, music is often used to integrate learning skills with a fun, enjoyable experience. Learning a musical instrument and singing in a choir should be part of every child’s education. It gives children a window into a creative world that is part of what makes us human. Creativity brings a sense of freedom. Rules are often obsolete when we are being creative and we have permission to take risks and try new things. When we take the time and energy to develop new ideas, we learn to understand, trust and respect ourselves which, in turn, leads to better expression

UK boarding schools offer a safe

and articulation of our thoughts. And

and well-equipped home that is far

as a result we often become more

removed from that favela but there is

confident, less stressed and more

a connection in the way that children

adaptable when problems come along

from different backgrounds come

that require a solution.

TIME FOR MUSIC Boarding schools understand all this and place great importance on music, offering instrumental and singing lessons, ensembles, orchestras, bands and many different performance opportunities. Sometimes there is so much on offer that a boarding pupil can struggle to choose. But a key benefit of boarding school life is the time it provides for many activities including, of course, music. Learning a musical instrument takes dedication and regular practice. For day pupils this will often be done at home squeezed in between homework, food, travel and other co-curricular activities. Children who board gain an advantage here. They don’t need to build in time for commuting or preparing meals. Their routine can be planned to allow time for practice and this will often be aided by dedicated support from the music department, enabling progress to be maintained and monitored. But boarding offers much more than

together in schools and a realisation

this. Ensembles and choirs can be

that music is so important for

timetabled to rehearse during boarding


time and there will also be time for pupils

100 per cent of the fees. Pupils do

to be creative, form their own ensembles,

not have to board to be part of this

compose their own music and prepare

programme but those who do will find the

performances together. All this enriches

chorister programme will dovetail with the

the house spirit and because everyone

full range of activities that all our pupils

is doing it together, music is valued by


everyone and becomes part of daily life rather than perhaps a solitary activity at

Pupils who board and embrace the musical

home House concerts, entertainments and

opportunities on offer in their schools

performances are eagerly anticipated and

will be enriched by greater confidence,

enjoyed by all.

independence and a creative spirit which can last a lifetime. So, as they say at the

MUSIC IS FOR EVERYONE Here at Bilton Grange, music is for everyone, not confined to the music school. Everyone sings with enthusiasm in school assemblies and there are ensembles, bands, an orchestra and musical dramatic performances. In 2022 we are also launching a new chorister programme which will see two new choirs – one for boys and another for girls. These auditioned choirs will rehearse and sing on four days a week but will have no commitments at the weekends. They will sing Evensong and the Eucharist in both Bilton Grange and Rugby School chapels alongside professional adult singers. This programme is supported by scholarships and means-tested bursaries up to

carnival in Rio, ‘abrace a musica’ (embrace the music).

As an English and History graduate, Gareth Jones began his teaching career at The Dragon where senior roles included Director of Sport, Director of the Extended Curriculum and Housemaster. He was Head of St Andrew’s Prep, Eastbourne for six years. Music and the performing arts flourished during his tenure there. Since September 2021, he has been Head of Bilton Grange Prep which is now part of the Rugby Schools Group.

Outdoor learning – ‘rewilding’ pupils Outdoor learning enriches learning experiences and gives children and young people the opportunity to connect with nature. The potential of outdoor learning to improve academic outcomes has been long recognised

Will Frost Head of Geography and Outdoor Learning, Salisbury Cathedral School

by the government. In 2006 it signed a manifesto from the Council for Learning

The psychological benefits of spending time

conducted outside in ‘nature’s classroom’.

Outside the Classroom (LOtC) stating:

in nature are numerous. Observing plants,

Even though ‘outdoor learning’ has its own

‘We strongly support the educational

trees, water and creatures is naturally mindful

sessions on the timetable, the end goal is a

case for learning outside the classroom.

and calming.3 In this environment children

cultural shift that sees all our staff thinking,

If all young people were given these

are more able to access their subconscious

‘I wonder if I could take this lesson outside?’.

opportunities, we believe it would make

knowledge and understanding as well as

a significant contribution to raising

their conscious minds. It’s not surprising that

Before becoming a teacher, I worked for


often children and young people who have

the National Trust for ten years. An early

been deemed to be having difficulties with

experience opened my eyes to the power of

Two years later, Ofsted, the schools’

their learning positively shine in a different,

nature to bring out the best in people. Each

inspection service, commissioned a report

outdoor environment.4

week I collected a group of young jobseekers who had to participate in volunteering to

called Learning Outside the Classroom, how far should you go? The report found that ‘learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.’ It also stated that outdoor learning is most successful when it is an ‘integral element of long-term curriculum planning’.2

NATURE’S CLASSROOM One of the many benefits of boarding at a prep school is the wealth of experiences on offer both inside and outside the classroom and often the additional benefit of beautiful outdoor space to explore. At Salisbury Cathedral School (SCS) I have been campaigning for more lessons to be

remain eligible for benefits. Many of the young people involved had known drug and alcohol problems and I was unsure about how much they would benefit from the planned outdoor rehabilitation programme. I’ve never been so happy to be so completely wrong. After a tiring day cutting back invasive Peadar Maxwell, child psychologist, quoted from 4 1 2 3


rhododendrons, my young team came to

Rewilding is an increasingly mainstream

on their skin. The more they do this, the

life with an amazing sense of purpose. The

environmental movement committed to

stronger, more confident, healthy and happy

time outside in nature, camaraderie and all

reversing the destruction of the natural world

they will become. At SCS we are lucky to have

the fresh air and exercise were the most

by doing (almost) nothing. It is the reverse

27 acres of green space, including a lake,

tremendous tonic for all and by the end of

of conventional conservation policy. There

trees, lawns and pitches in the heart of the

the day no one wanted to stop!

is no box-ticking, no target-driven initiatives.

city, and the beautiful campus is ideal for

Instead, land is given back to nature. Rivers

connecting pupils with nature every day.

As I progressed in my career at the National

are re-wiggled, scrub areas are left to grow,

Trust, I found my job slowly changed from

verges are planted with native wildflowers

Rewilding our children is not all play though.

being outside with others and became more

and herbivores have been reintroduced to

Whether it’s creating history timelines on

office-based and target-driven. It was the

create dynamic habitats through natural seed

the school driveway or demonstrating

memory of how those young jobseekers


population pyramids by the cricket pitch, our pupils thrive when they are learning

blossomed in the fresh air that led me to teaching, with a strong focus on taking children out into nature. I joined SCS in 2020 with the aim of leaving the place (SCS) better than I found it and working to ensure all pupils have the opportunity to learn, have memorable experiences and make meaningful friendships outdoors. Working together with the rest of the school staff, I hope to rewild both the pupils and their school environment.

OPEN TO EVERYONE The beauty of rewilding is that it’s open to everyone. You can rewild anything from a window box to the whole world. At SCS, we are starting small by keeping everything we cut. It is a bit of a culture shock as the reality of rewilding can be quite messy with all the bugs that thrive – garden waste can stimulate a biodiversity of insects very quickly. Tree trimmings make pretend swords and are great for den-building. These toys from nature bring simple joy to our pupils. There is much enthusiasm throughout the school community for rewilding. In 2020 our Year 8s created videos to inspire everyone to rewild their gardens as one of many challenges for SCS’s first Green Week. The concept of rewilding has been expanded to also reflect the importance of reconnecting children with nature. To connect with nature, children need to be outdoors in natural environments as much as possible. They need to play outside in woodlands, roll down hills and climb trees. They need to get wet and muddy and feel the wind, rain and sun

in new and different environments. SCS is also committed to ensuring future field trips provide opportunity for pupils to get involved, for example by keeping data on wildlife, litterpicking or planting trees or hedges. If they revisit the same destination in the future, they will have a sense of pride knowing they have contributed.

Will Frost joined Salisbury Cathedral School (SCS) in 2020 from Windlesham House School. As Head of Geography and Outdoor Learning, Will introduced the first ever SCS Green Week in 2020 and is continually increasing the amount of outdoor learning for every pupil. Before teaching, Will worked for the National Trust and was a contributor to the ‘50 Things to Do Before You’re 11’ scheme, designed to encourage children out into nature. He has also volunteered as a guide at the Knepp Estate, known for its very successful rewilding project, the ‘Great Landscape Experiment’.

Olly Langton Headmaster, Belhaven Hill School

Using robotics, 3D printing and computing in a prep school

The ability to understand twenty-first century technology is the first step to being able to control the creative power of computers. There is no doubt that prep schools must meet this challenge head on if we are to fulfill a leading role as educators of the next generation. The perception that this challenge involves the adoption of a completely new set of skills needs to change. In fact, much of what we can learn from computational thinking has been championed by prep schools for generations: resilience, perseverance, dedication, focus, and accuracy. The challenge with computing education is that we do not know what the technology will be when our pupils leave formal education in a decade’s time. What we do know is that almost all roles will use technology, so knowing how technology works will be an essential prerequisite for a successful career. Key to our pupils’ success will be an understanding of computational thinking and developing a lifelong interest in computing. The Raspberry Pi Foundation explains that

excellent pastoral care and nurturing

rather than abstract form. To achieve this,

‘computational thinking is solving a problem

communities, small class sizes and

here at Belhaven Hill, we have invested in

by breaking it down into its individual parts

dedicated staff, they can provide the perfect

Spheros, Micro:bits and Raspberry Pis.

and building an algorithm to solve the

opportunity to experiment and ‘fail safely’. The younger pupils use the Sphero robots,

problem’. This area of computer science encourages children to be creative. Prep

To develop computational thinking, children

spherical robots which can be programmed

schools provide the ideal environment in

need regular access to physical computing

on iPads using a block-based programming

which to develop creativity. With their

so that they can see the results in tangible

language. Creating routes for the Sphero


to navigate provides the opportunity for

We have recently invested in a 3D printer

Prep schools need to encourage failure

problem-solving and gives children a feeling

which has created real excitement among

to a greater degree than has previously

of mastery through ‘live’ experience. The

the pupils. They have used it to produce

been allowed. The ‘fear of failure’ inculcated

pupils can also make the Sphero robots

chess set pieces, a new trophy for the

in part by the exam culture of modern

communicate with each other, allowing the

school’s stop-motion animation competition,

schooling, must be addressed as a first step

development of simple communication

and to make other familiar items. This

in removing the shackles from our pupils’

protocols, as well as responding to events

has already created a legacy in which the

progress. An immersive approach to the

such as crashing into a wall! This ability to

children see themselves as engineers.

adoption of technology for staff and pupils, forced upon us by successive lockdowns, has

break a task down into its composite parts

components such as a Servo.

‘DIGITAL MAKERS’ Our goal is to create a cohort of ‘digital makers’ who can design bespoke parts for a project, connect them to a programmable device and use them to solve a problem. Pupils might construct a chariot to connect to a Sphero so that a favourite teddy can be transported around a dorm; or they might programme a Micro:bit to create a selfopening bin for a visually impaired relative at home.

Physical computing offers children

Prep schools can be the perfect environment

the opportunity to be creative with

for the trial and error approach to working

their solutions to problems. Alongside

with computers. Our children need these

programming, children can be introduced

digital skills to achieve a greater level of

to other skills such as soldering, computer-

proficiency in all aspects of their education.

lies at the heart of computational thinking. Older pupils at Belhaven Hill use their iPads to program Micro:bits. These are microcontroller boards specifically designed to teach children physical computing. Pupils use a similar block-based language to the Sphero to program the Micro:bits’ onboard components (such as buttons, compasses and LED screens) and can also add

aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).

produced a significant increase in the pace of progress. Now is the time to forge ahead and prepare our children for the challenges they will confront at the next stage of their education and in the wider world beyond. Robotics, 3D printing and computing definitely need to be part of a modern prep school’s curriculum.

Olly Langton joined Belhaven Hill School as Headmaster in 2020 having taught at Ludgrove (2005–7) and Radley (2007–20). He is married to Rosie and together they ran a boarding house at Radley for seven years before moving to Belhaven. They are joined by their three children, Alexander (now at Belhaven), Cleo and Lettie, and their Labrador, Nelson.

How boarding schools support children’s mental and emotional development

Fred de Falbe Headmaster, Beeston Hall and play with academic progress. There is no wasted travel time, no environmental footprint, but a rhythm to the children’s lives and friendships. There is the hierarchy and discipline of systems (but none of the oppression of ancient stereotypes) within which children can begin making their own, unilateral but supported choices – something, as we adults know, is often a challenge.

In an assembled group at school, it is an obvious and easy question to ask – what do we value most highly in life? For some the first answer may be God, but more commonly – certainly among prep school-age children – it is ‘family’ or ‘love’. (Occasionally ‘time’ is offered up too, but more usually by old stagers in Year 8 who have been in on this discussion before.) The point is that these three abstract nouns are the keys to our capacity to form and maintain relationships in life which, in turn, leads to that Holy Grail – happiness. This is not to say life, particularly the life of a child, should be unalloyed happiness, but it is a notion that merits unpicking within the discussion about boarding school. Happiness? Rather than heading down this ‘rabbit hole’ of philosophical discussion, we should consider the end game: what are parents and pupils aiming for when they choose UK independent education – known and admired around the world as a gold standard? We want our charges to become well educated, but what does that mean? Besides the fulfilling of academic potential, we aspire for the children we look after to become open-minded, energetic and flexible young people, willing and able to work in groups and to think creatively and independently so they have the confidence to take initiative and contribute in purposeful and constructive ways. This process starts in the home with parental instincts driving the development of our children but before too

long – and quite correctly as children begin socialisation and stimulation – we seek help elsewhere. So begins school and the wider development of our children and the challenges of parenting. One irony of our privileged, post-industrial, twenty-first century lives is the lack of time juxtaposed with the sheer quantity of information, both fanned by the distractions and diversions that can enfold our relentless schedules. Titles such as The Collapse of Parenting and Raising Boys offer analysis and advice but do not stop the guilt, interspersed though it is with natty new methods of ‘having everything’. On top of this comes the consequent inability to construct communities of a sufficiently small and digestible scale to allow children to develop the social and emotional intelligences so necessary to fulfil the aims outlined above. So we come to boarding school. A small boarding community does not replace family. But it does begin to reflect the ‘village’ or ‘tribe’ model outlined by so many social psychologists, something which has served humanity well for millennia and has all but disappeared in today’s developed world. Prefaced by the adage ‘not for everyone’, we begin the observation that children, in many cases at Beeston Hall, often choose this for themselves. They see the structures and efficiencies – never mind fun – of such an arrangement, where their time is more purposefully spent, mixing up activities

While the care of each child is paramount and pastoral systems unimpeachable, our boarding schools are organised to serve a community, not the individual needs of each child. This has a powerful effect on each child’s capacity to operate in a group and share, developing the resilience to stand up for themselves, contribute and be noticed. There is the freedom to make decisions and to learn the consequences of this – whether it is falling off a swing or resolutely practising the French horn – and this means the 13 year old departing for senior school has developed some awareness of their own thought processes and the impact they can have. In my view, the effect of this contained, curated life of a small prep school helps achieve a remarkable combination of humility and self-confidence, where children can gently but firmly make their ways in the world. This is why they are greeted with open arms by senior schools and also, of course, by parents who, rather than serving them as taxi driver, coach and tutor (chief nag very often too), delight in seeing their children flourishing into young adults who have learnt the benefit of good relationships, of making an effort, and of contributing to the world around them.

Fred de Falbe has been Headmaster of Beeston Hall, a boarding and day prep school in Norfolk, since 2016. Before that he was a Prep Head in Herefordshire, after six years at Knightsbridge School, latterly as Deputy Head. His first spell of teaching was after Eton, as an 18 year old in Honduras, which led to a career in film after a Theology degree at Manchester. Having completed eight years in the maintained sector, which he combined with smallholding in Devon, he ran a property business before returning to teaching. He is married to Juliet, who plays a key pastoral role in the school, and they have three children.


Ludgrove • Full boarding boys’ prep school set in 130 acres of grounds in rural Berkshire. • Family run school with a homely atmosphere and outstanding pastoral care. • Small classes and excellent academic record. • Extensive extracurricular programme supported by new and modern facilities. • Newly opened £2.5million, state-of-the-art Exploration Centre providing one of the finest prep school scientific and creative learning environments in the country.

Ludgrove, Wokingham, Berkshire RG40 3AB · 0118 978 9881 · · Ludgrove_Advert_2022_185x125_v1.indd 1

29/06/2022 10:10

Full Weekly Flexi-Boarding

Sherfield School "Boarders will be thrilled – the Coeducational brand-new, larch-clad boarding block is the smartest I’ve 3 months seen, with modern, to private en-suite rooms 18 years for each pupil." Boarding Maya Boyd, School Reviewer


www. sherfieldschool.

from 9 years Hook, Hampshire

01256 884 800

45 minute train from London

Responsibility versus maturity

– when to introduce more freedom to prep school boarders Every parent hopes their child will grow up to be a success – a happy and

Paddy Moss Headmaster, Dean Close Preparatory School

fulfilled adult who makes considered choices and who appreciates the value of being of service to others. Many schools promise to provide the opportunities to achieve this, particularly through boarding provision. Boarding is no longer popular simply

are not quite ready to take their next steps?

child is important in order to offer

as a necessity for travelling or busy

The key is for houseparents and house

the appropriate concessions. Giving

parents – it is a lifestyle choice for

tutors to really know each individual pupil

responsibility to a young person can have

parents who recognise and value the

very well and to work with parents through

immense benefits for all involved and can

benefits of it.

understanding their different parenting

offer opportunities to learn and develop new



lessons learnt from being educated away

Equally important is monitoring the choices

The first question to consider when

from home – teamwork through living with

each child makes as they navigate their

giving responsibility is: ‘Are they ready?’

others, taking care of one’s own physical and

school journey, being there to celebrate their

Professionals who work in boarding schools

emotional needs with support from staff,

successes and offering compassion and

are very experienced in knowing when to

taking responsibility for self-organisation

guidance when they make mistakes.

allow their charges to draw close and when

There are many values to be gained and

both of academic and co-curricular activities. These are all qualities a child can develop at a nurturing boarding school. Offering an age-appropriate level of independence is of great value. So how do schools manage to give enough freedom for those who are mature enough, while holding on a little more tightly to those who

to loosen up.

‘HOUSE RULES’ A clear set of ‘house rules’ acts as an invaluable safety net. These can give more freedom for older boarders, that younger boarders can aspire to, and a clear understanding that these levels of freedom are earned, based on the houseparents’ judgement. Again, knowing the individual

While supervision levels are never relaxed, as a boarder gains greater maturity, so expectations of appropriate behaviour and responsibility increase. Examples of increased freedoms in a school such as Dean Close can be found in downtime and during more routine school time. For


“Giving responsibility to a young person can have immense benefits for all involved and can offer opportunities to learn and develop new skills.”

example, in the run-up to examinations,

younger pupils can also visit their favourite

dedicated staff sit with younger boarders

haunts but remain under the watchful gaze

guiding them through their revision

of a gap-year student. Just as parents expect

homework, while older prep school

more involvement of children in helping with

pupils are expected to have created their

the household chores, so boarders benefit

own revision timetable and to prepare

from taking responsibility for organising

independently for the challenges of the

their boarding house. Rotas for keeping the

exam hall.

games room tidy or helping matron with the nightly toasted sandwiches are opportunities

OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSEQUENCES During the lovely long summer evenings, older pupils at Dean Close enjoy playing traditional wide games in the woodland area where they can run off their pent-up energy, but they are fully aware of the consequences if they stray too far from their team or return to the boarding house past curfew. These opportunities to be close to ‘home’ but at the same time out of sight, provide invaluable lessons – creating their own fun, being aware of the time and looking out for others.

for children to serve and they gain great satisfaction from this. While away from home, children have to make choices and decisions uncoached by parents, the consequences of which should always be seen as a learning experience. Whether it is a good choice that leads to a positive result or a less considered one which should never be repeated, a child learns through this process. They understand they have the ability and freedom to take responsibility and build up

Boarding schools fortunate to be located

resilience if a situation does not go their

in, or in close walking distance of, a town

way, taking their first steps to becoming well-

can also allow their pupils some supervised

rounded and happy individuals. The road

freedom off site. While it might be suitable

can be more rocky for some than others, but

to allow older prep school pupils to do their

a good school will always recognise the value

Christmas shopping in town in small groups,

of the journey.

an annual treat they all look forward to,

Paddy Moss is Headmaster of Dean Close Preparatory School. Paddy joined Dean Close in 2015 from Kenya, having spent nine years as Headmaster of a premier British-curriculum preparatory boarding school. A Canadian by birth but brought up in the west of England, Paddy studied Geography and Economics (SOAS, London University) before embarking on a career as a teacher in several boarding and day prep schools, in the UK and abroad, where he was also a member of many of the senior management teams. He is a highly experienced sports coach with a passion for outdoor activities and scouting. He and his wife, a maths and PE teacher, have three daughters at Dean Close.

Preparing pupils for the transition to senior schools

The crucial process of transitioning from prep school to senior school has seen significant changes over recent years, with a

Simone Mitchell, Deputy Head, Director of Teaching and Learning, Swanbourne House School

more bespoke, nurturing start earlier. It used to start about 18

was a tense wait for Common

months before a pupil left us, now the

Entrance results taken in June for

preparation starts four years before

September entry, with the anxiety of

they will set foot in a senior school.

waiting for a place to be confirmed.

At Swanbourne House, we know it’s

This is a very positive development for

Now, it is very rare for a senior school

an evolving and creative process, with

families and schools. Indeed, when I’m

not to give an unconditional offer.

no ‘catch-all’ approach. A personal

asked what can be the biggest pitfall in

This development benefits pupils,

approach is rightly expected by families,

the process, I often say timing.

allowing prep schools time to create

and tailored approach sought by families.

a tailored approach to their learning,

and creating a robust, specific path for the child to their chosen senior school

All senior schools publish details of

preparing pupils so they can thrive

can be a challenging process, but one

their registration process on their

in their senior school. Starting the

that reaps significant rewards.

website well in advance – my advice

process early gives schools and

to families would always be to check

parents an opportunity to plan

If I could point to one significant change

the dates and don’t assume all

accordingly for the child.

in the transition process over recent

schools will have the same timings

years, it’s seeing the whole process

and process. In years gone by, there


PERSONAL TUTOR Having the academic and pastoral contact of a personal tutor, who can work with the child on a daily basis and across a number of years, will help them shape their progress and get them ready for their next step. This close relationship is vital to making sure we know what we need to do for each child to ensure they are ready for the next part of their school journey. An important part of this is preparing them for the tests and assessments they will take for their senior school entry. In Year 6 pupils start taking senior school tests, so through the whole of Year 5 we offer them assistance in verbal and nonverbal reasoning testing, and prepare them for maths and English assessments. This preparation also includes practice interviews with members of the Senior Leadership Team.

early and keep the conversation going. This is vital in choosing the right senior school for each child and ensuring a smooth and successful transition. You may want a day or a boarding place, co-ed or single-sex, or a school in a particular part of the country or that’s important to your family. Your prep school will know your child well and be able to offer tailored advice, with a knowledge of the character of the different senior schools. They will also know children similar to your son or daughter and at which schools they have thrived. Finally, visit the senior schools you have in mind to soak up the ambience and atmosphere (perhaps without your child on the first visit). I liken choosing a school to buying a house. Different houses may have the right facilities, be in the right

At Swanbourne we have also created a

traits and skills they need to thrive in their

place and have all you need on paper,

programme of enriching co-curricular

senior school.

however until you see it you can’t get a sense of all those things you can’t put into

activities to help develop confidence, foster self-management skills and build resilience. From an early age, pupils are taken on fun and challenging outdoor trips that help them develop that important ‘can-do’ attitude while also learning to work as an individual, thrive as part of a team, reflect on their successes and failures and nurture self-belief. A varied Saturday Enrichment Programme brings out new skills and abilities through engaging and challenging activities such as performance car design, fashion and merchandising, clay pigeon shooting,

FLEXI-BOARDING Most pupils board at their senior school, so giving exposure to boarding at their prep school is important. At Swanbourne, we encourage families to take advantage of our flexi-boarding option if the pupil isn’t already boarding. Flexi-boarding gives pupils the opportunity to stay a few nights a week at our boarding house, building up their experience, learning the routines and nuances of boarding, and helping them to have a smoother transition into senior school.

bushcraft and language learning. These experiences encourage a desire to take

One of the most important pieces of

on new challenges, helping children to

advice I’d give to parents is to start

develop the self-belief and the character

communicating with your prep school

words, the feeling it gives you that this is the right place. Good luck! Simone qualified as an English teacher in 1996 from Exeter University and has worked in the independent school sector since 2001. Following three years’ teaching in Japan, she has worked for three senior schools in the UK in a variety of roles including English teacher and Head of English. Simone sits as part of the Senior Leadership Team at Swanbourne House School as Deputy Head, Director of Teaching and Learning, and she oversees the transition of pupils to senior school. Simone undertook a Masters Degree in Education at the University of Buckingham in Educational Leadership. She is an External Tutor for the University of Buckingham and lectures on PGCE courses.

Being a

new prep Jon Timmins Acting Head, Wymondham College Prep School and Head of Underwood Hall

Being a new prep school boarder is an ideal way for pupils to get a first taste of boarding and prepare them for what life will be like if they go on to a senior boarding school.

Underwood Hall is Wymondham College

offering it in one unmanageable load. As

Prep School’s new mixed boarding house

well as teaching new routines and new

for pupils in Years 5 and 6. Despite being

expectations, all our induction activity

a brand new boarding house and school,

centred around children getting to know

we are the prep school to the well-known

each other and the staff team, us getting to

and well-established Wymondham College.

know them and, importantly, there being

An important aspect of the culture that

plenty of fun and laughter.

we are looking to grow is that we are very much ‘prep by name and prep by nature’.


We are truly looking to prepare boarders


for the start of a long boarding journey with

An early challenge of opening a new

the College. Our proximity to the College

boarding house has been to break down

has created an excellent opportunity to

the inevitable clinical feel of a large new

involve older and more seasoned boarders

build and make it into a home. From

in helping the prep school boarders learn

the beginning we have emphasised that

what an exciting opportunity living away

Underwood Hall is not ‘my’ boarding house

from home can be. We have welcomed the

but ‘our’ boarding house and we have

older boarders into Underwood Hall where

involved the boarders in the decision-

they have helped with, and sometimes led,

making process as much as possible. For

evening and weekend activities, provided an

example, we have consulted boarders

extra pair of eyes during prep and offered

about topics such as routine, activities, trips,

the younger boaders a sounding board,

interior design, garden design and food. We

other than a member of staff, to talk about

have involved them very closely in terms

boarding life.

of setting the tone and the culture of the house and this has played a really important

Before the prep boarding house opened, we

part in making the boarding house into a

carefully planned our induction programme.


Over the first few weeks of term we planned when to deliver key pieces of information so

The culture of Underwood Hall is an inviting

as to drip feed information rather than

one. It is built upon happiness, kindness and


p school boarder

being helpful. We celebrate boarders

is that you are never short of company,

who demonstrate these things on a

an opponent or a teammate.

weekly basis via a system of rewards directly related to our core values.

It is interesting that when interviewing prospective boarders, the thing they

A priority has been to keep boarders

anticipate liking the most is being around

busy and to limit device time. Although

their friends all the time. I am always

boarders are allowed a device that

pleased to tell them, and their parents,

connects to the internet, we restrict

that this is one of several aspects that

device time to an hour a day so there

our boarders would say is the best thing

is plenty of time to contact family and

about Underwood Hall, together with

friends. This leaves time to interact and

the sense of camaraderie that boarding

engage in activities and games even if

brings – hard to replicate elsewhere.

this is something as simple as a game of cards, a game of table tennis or a kickabout on the astroturf. One of the enormous benefits of boarding after all

Jon Timmins is Acting Head of Wymondham College Prep School and Head of Underwood Hall. He has extensive boarding experience in both the independent sector and state sector having worked previously at Junior Kings Canterbury and St George’s, Harpenden. Jon and his wife Maria live in Underwood Hall with their two children, Jess and Charlie, who both attend Wymondham College.

Jo Cameron Principal, Queenswood School


What does a bespoke education actually mean?

Almost all independent schools

There will be greater support for children

proudly assert that they offer a

with special educational needs, and further

‘bespoke education’. As the Principal

opportunities to stretch the gifted and

of a girls’ boarding and day school, I


am often asked what this means in practice. Small class sizes are of course a crucial factor. Many parents are justifiably alarmed by the ever-increasing class sizes in state schools. An article in the June 2019 edition of Schools Week revealed that the number of classes of over 30 (some as high as 35) has almost doubled in five years. So it’s no wonder that the considerably smaller class sizes in independent schools are a real attraction. Consider just how far-reaching those benefits are. In an average class of around 15, a child will receive twice as much individual attention from the teacher, who will soon develop an understanding of how he or she learns best.

Independent schools generally place

considerably greater emphasis on the

creative arts. At a time when curriculum time for subjects such as music, drama

and dance is being squeezed nationally,

TAILORED TO PUPILS’ INTERESTS AND PASSIONS Freedom from the constraints of the National Curriculum in the independent sector means that at Key Stage 3, the range of subjects on offer – and the schemes of work and syllabuses delivered within those subjects – can be tailored to the genuine interests and passions of the pupils themselves. The range of modern foreign and classical languages taught in independent schools is a case in point – while language learning is in decline in the state sector, Japanese, Arabic, Latin and Ancient Greek are all thriving in private schools.

and no provision for the arts is made in

the Department for Education’s EBacc (the

set of eight recommended GCSE subjects), pupils at independent schools are very

fortunate to enjoy the advantages of an

education that values creativity, originality and resourcefulness. Boarding pupils are

especially able to enjoy all the activities and

opportunities on offer during the school day and in the evenings and weekends.

A CREATIVE EDUCATION Beyond the sheer satisfaction of selfexpression, a creative education offers many benefits to pupils. Research has shown that regular and sustained participation in musical activities stimulates the brain to



form new neural networks, and leads to

philanthropists. They might even put

better working memory (vital for mental

themselves forward for the prestigious

arithmetic and reading comprehension),

annual Global Young Leaders Conference in

improved linguistic ability, and improvements

the USA.

in attention span, emotional resilience, empathy and self-confidence. Likewise, studying drama and dance helps young people to improvise, think laterally, and become adaptable problem-solvers. Drama students grow into confident and articulate public speakers and working collaboratively on performance projects encourages engagement with others’ viewpoints, and helps to develop qualities such as compassion and tolerance. These

INDIVIDUAL LEARNING STYLES At the heart of a bespoke education is a recognition that each pupil develops at their own pace, and in their own learning style. For example, while kinaesthetic learners favour practical and hands-on experience, auditory-musical learners benefit from mnemonics, rhythms and background sounds. Increasingly, independent schools are working to differentiate their teaching methods to suit individual learners.

Ultimately, every pupil deserves to be recognised as an individual. A bespoke education responds and reacts to the

skills and qualities are highly prized by At Queenswood, we have recently

needs of each child, nurturing their

established a Personalised Learning Centre

unique potential, fostering independence,

As pupils progress, the degree of

– a central hub where all learners can

and allowing them to discover their own

personalisation increases still further. They

congregate. Senior academic scholars meet

strengths and passions in a safe and

are able to take advantage of the extensive

here for one-to-one and group sessions, to

supportive environment.

resources available – including, crucially, the

explore options for stretch and challenge

wide-ranging expertise of the teaching staff

and to discuss current affairs. Some pupils

– to conduct their own research projects

use it as a drop-in centre to seek advice

or take up elective courses. For example,

on planning study and revision schedules,

in the sixth form at Queenswood, girls are

play flashcard games to boost working

able to augment their A-level studies with

memory, discuss recommendations for

seminars on topics such as personal finance,

non-fiction reading with staff and peers, or

forensic psychology, philosophy and politics,

for structured tutorials to address specific

and to attend lectures from prominent

learning issues.


authors, politicians, entrepreneurs and

Jo Cameron has been Principal of Queenswood, a boarding and day school for girls, since 2016. A graduate of the University of Surrey (St Mary’s College) with an honours degree in Environmental Science, for the past 20 years Jo has worked almost exclusively in girls’ schools. Beyond the classroom and in her spare time, Jo is a keen sportswoman, with a passion for hockey, running and equestrianism. She is married with two sons.

Girls and STEAM subjects The UK CEO of Siemens, Carl Ennis, told delegates at the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) annual

Olivera Raraty Headmistress, Malvern St James Girls’ School

conference in 2021 that fighting climate change ‘will need the broadest, brightest and boldest minds and will be a struggle without a fully cross-sectional and gender-equal cohort of scientists, engineers and technologists. Inevitably, scientists and engineers will be at the heart of dealing with the challenge. And diverse teams are more likely to reach scientific breakthrough.’ Each year the UK needs 203,000 people

encourages more girls to consider a branch

the opportunities they offer for a range of

of engineering as a career that will be a

highly successful and adventurous careers.

positive aspect of the global crisis we all

Many girls do not have a chance to see


what these careers look like or to hear the list of exciting, unexpected answers to the

Women account for just 24 per cent of

question ‘What do engineers actually do?’.

the UK’s workforce in engineering, science and technology (while 51 per cent of the

Girls in girls’ schools are more likely to study

working-age population are female) with

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering

only 12 per cent of them in engineering

and Maths) subjects at A level. In fact, they

(Women into Science and Engineering

are nearly three times more likely to take


maths and physics. But, more widely, when

with Level 3+ engineering skills to meet

it comes to choosing university courses,

demand. This generation of teenagers is

I believe one of the reasons for these sorry

perhaps the most committed to protecting

statistics is a lack of female role models.

the planet. The interest in COP26 – and

Another is a widespread lack of information,

This may be because of the binary nature

the attendant activism – was evidence of

even a false perception, about the nature

of the decision-making aged 15 concerning

that. If contributing to the planet’s survival

of the jobs available in those sectors and

A-level subject choice. This is an unrealistic

many girls are rejecting science options.


Boarding at Felsted Leading all-round education with pupil wellbeing at its heart. Give your child the space to thrive with our variety of modern boarding options. Based on a safe rural campus just one hour from London.

Book your visit and find out more at Developing character, making a difference. Co-educational, ages 4-18, boarding & day. #FelstedFamily

Felsted-School-Advert-Artwork-2022-Half-Page.indd 1

25/07/2022 13:31:49

A leading coeducational boarding and day school, from ages 5-18 | An HMC and IB World School

which resembles real life much more than the strict division of subjects in the traditional curriculum. It could be argued that in a girls’ school, it is easier to encourage pupils to take an interest in STEM subjects because there is no gender stereotyping. Younger girls see the older ones as STEM subject approach to learning – the truly inquisitive

mentors and they see the usefulness, as

and bright child will have a wide range of

well as the fun, of participating in national

interests and will have understood how

STEM challenges and Olympiads and in

subject boundaries blur. An all-round

the excitement of research. The Malvern

education does not encourage pupils to

Festival of Innovation, which takes place

‘drop’ subjects.

virtually on our school’s doorstep, is a treasure trove of opportunities – our

CREATIVE AND CRITICAL More than ever, the world needs creative and critical thinkers who can demonstrate technical and mathematical skills, digital literacy and scientific knowledge. But an engineer who has studied product design or art will be bringing to their technical and scientific work not only an aesthetic appreciation but also a creative approach grounded in experimental thinking and design or concept development from start to finish. The combination of STEM and Arts subjects (STEAM) is often where innovation is forged.

Years 7 and 8 won competitions for their design and building of cars in both the Bloodhound and Mazak challenges. We have added entrepreneurship to our Year 10 programme and have also increased our links not only with universities but with business and industry so that the girls have as many opportunities as possible to see and hear about the world of work for which they are preparing. We organise off-curriculum, out-of-school activities such as local work experience sessions and job placements for girls in Year 11 and above, visits to careers fairs,

Employers have made it clear that,

tours of local factories and a trip to RAF

whatever the sector, they are placing

Cosford for our Year 9 pupils. And at

greater emphasis on emotional intelligence

the other end of the school, we have a

in their recruitment: young people who are

team of six sixth-form pupils participating

both self-aware and socially aware, and

in a CREST research project where

who can work collaboratively. Potential

they are carrying out a series of novel

leaders no longer have to demonstrate

chemical reactions in school to synthesise

their mastery of command and control;

intermediates for potential use in the

rather they need to show how best they

pharmaceutical industry.

can engage with their colleagues. In my view, study and appreciation of the arts

We are also lucky to have successful

help to develop creative, analytical and

alumnae who are happy to come back to

critical thinking but also deepen our

their old school to talk about their own

understanding of human emotions and

careers. This offers the chance for the


pupils to hear and ask questions about a wide range of experiences. It is impossible

Here at Malvern St James, we have more

for teachers to provide these first-hand

girls than at any time studying STEM


subjects at A level, and more girls going on to read STEM subjects at university. But

As we watch the march of artificial

they are doing so with a background and

intelligence (AI) across every aspect of our

continuing interest and involvement in arts.

lives, the excitement offered by school

For example, they are combining physics

computing departments and the interest

and maths with art or design technology,

in coding continue to grow. Computing is

or biology and chemistry with psychology

a subject that defies subject definition and

and music.

is an excellent example of creative and critical thinking without boundaries. The

I am wholeheartedly committed to this

National Cyber Security Agency is doing

approach. This is why we have recently

excellent work in encouraging girls into the

appointed a Head of STEAM, a new post

cyber sector with their Cyberfirst and Cyber

which encourages a multidisciplinary

Discovery programmes.

approach to teaching and learning and

MINI-ENGINEERS Children are naturally mini-engineers. Just watch them building and tinkering and notice how creative they are about solving problems. Formal education doesn’t allow them the scope to make the most of these natural attributes so it is important for schools to try to find creative ways for young children’s inborn curiosity to be nurtured and have practical outlets. Our own prep girls, aged 4 to 11, have undertaken a Mini Young Enterprise Challenge as well as a STEAM club where they have programmed robots and created circuits to light up a dolls’ house. They also take part in National Science and Engineering Week where the whole school goes off curriculum to enjoy workshops and all kinds of scientific challenges. These all provide excellent platforms for building self-confidence. It’s crucial to keep those hands-on experiences through senior school so that children’s natural enthusiasm for finding out how things work is not switched off. Education needs to be increasingly outward-looking, taking place beyond the classroom to make the necessary connection with real life and to understand the application, not just the theory, of ‘subjects’. The application of science in all its wonders needs to be embedded in the curriculum. The the thrill of problem-solving – with those exciting eureka moments – needs to happen across the whole of the school experience, whatever subject you are learning. Schools need to be more adventurous about demonstrating to pupils, all pupils, just how many careers STEM offers in terms of intellectual excitement, personal fulfilment, and social and environmental benefit. If we can do that, with conviction and ambition, I am confident we will witness a growth in the number of women opting for a career in STEM, especially if that choice has been supported by the fundamentals of a STEAM education. The arts have a place in a civilised life, in a career that makes a difference. They are not an extra.

Olivera Raraty became Headmistress of Malvern St James Girls’ School in September 2016. Previously she was Deputy Head (Academic) at Notting Hill and Ealing High School in London and enjoyed a long career at Wycombe Abbey School as Head of History and Politics and Assistant Director of Studies.



March 2012, the only Scottish boarding

Fettes College is a collaborative

school to be able to say this.

community in which every member is working towards fully realising their potential whilst supporting those around

Each boarding house is like a family, a group of staff and students looking after


each other: helping, encouraging and

We want our students to leave us

boarding houses are at the heart of

surrounded by friends, with the best

Fettes life: lifelong friendships are made,

academic grades or IB score possible,

trust is fostered and loyalty forged.

being fully prepared for the next exciting

simply being there when needed. Our

phase of their lives.

As well as bonds with fellow housemates,

included the launch of Fettes Radio. “My

the Houseparents, Tutors and Matrons

time at Fettes was not just an education, but

We offer each of our students the

are dedicated to caring for and

a journey of discovery” – words from an

opportunity to make the most of their

encouraging each student. In College,

Old Fettesian that reflect the Fettes ethos

talents and to gain a wealth of new

every member of our full-time teaching

of encouraging students to challenge

experiences in a happy, encouraging

staff is connected to a boarding house

themselves and work diligently to achieve

environment. We maximise their

and does one night of duty in-house per

their goals in all that they do, and to be

potential by affording them all the

week, so all staff are involved in boarding

curious, creative and kind.

opportunities that a full boarding

in one way or another.

education can offer whilst ensuring the highest levels of care. In Scotland, all boarding schools are inspected by The Care Inspectorate and Fettes is proud to have been awarded the top grade of ‘Excellent’ for every inspection since

With a wide range of co-curricular activities on offer, weekends at Fettes are busy and fun-filled. Students are encouraged to give everything a go – and last year one of our new activities

“Fettes taught me to give everything a go, to do my best and to think for myself, but most importantly, I feel – to think of the future.”

Full boarding ethos Co-educational 13-18 Excellent IB, A Level & GCSE results Sector leading pastoral care Extensive co-curricular programme

Contact us at or 0131 311 6744 to discover Fettes. 

Boarding as preparation for twenty-first century life

2020 really pushed us to our limits, and perhaps even beyond. When you were desperately trying to keep your business afloat or tearing your hair out at ever-changing social and travel

Lisa Kerr Principal, Gordonstoun

restrictions, I wonder, what skills did you call upon? I suspect your strength of character and resilience were just

was a true pioneer in this regard. The

compassion. Over the years this has been

as important as your intellectual

Gordonstoun motto, ‘Plus est en vous’ or

inaccurately depicted as a tough regime of

knowledge. We all had to dig deep.

’There is more in you’, is as relevant today

cross-country running and cold showers.

as it was when the visionary educationalist,

But the reality is that pupils learn teamwork

Dr Kurt Hahn, founded the school in 1934.

on our ocean-going sail training vessel,

UK boarding schools are renowned for

develop resilience on expeditions into

the standard of education they provide, but the events of 2020 demonstrated the

Hahn’s vision was that young people

the Highlands and grow a strong sense of

importance of the broad range of skills we

needed to be challenged in order to

service to the community by volunteering

teach. The word ‘character education’ has

develop the skills they would need for life,

to be lifeguards or members of the

become over-used but Gordonstoun

such as resilience, responsibility and



UK boarding schools offer opportunities that many children can only dream of. And they develop skills which they can draw upon as they face life’s ups and downs. Young people need to understand that life is not plain sailing. How many of us faltered in our response when faced with the enormous challenges of the coronavirus pandemic? But failing at one aspect of life does not make you a failure. Presenting young people with challenges helps them

THE IMPORTANCE OF CHALLENGE HRH The Duke of Edinburgh recognised the importance of challenge. After his time at Gordonstoun, he first considered the idea of a national programme to support young people’s development in 1954 at the request of Kurt Hahn. The Gordonstoun School award was eventually developed into the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award and it now gives hundreds of thousands of children around the world an opportunity to take on life-changing challenges.

I can tell you from personal experience that, when you are the crew of a sailing boat in the middle of a gale on the West Coast of Scotland, there is no time to update your profile and little point in worrying about your appearance! The deep and meaningful friendships made during these experiences last a lifetime, not just for the duration of a few ‘likes’. There will always be tests of character, whether personal or professional. The

learn that moments of weakness are normal and that they need to support each

The pandemic has shown us that we can

pandemic has shown us that society

other to reach the best outcome. Our Head

take nothing for granted – that everything

needs leaders who are not only confident

of Senior School, who is a member of our

we rely upon can be turned upside down

but also resilient and compassionate. If a

volunteer Fire Service, works alongside

in a heartbeat. Our young people are

disproportionate number of tomorrow’s

pupils responding to emergency calls and

also facing an online world where they

influential individuals come from a boarding

recalls how, on several occasions, pupils

need to navigate the positives and pitfalls

school background, it will be because we

have kept him going through a long night

of social media. Boarding schools are

know how to bring out the best in each and

pumping flood water out of homes or

receiving increasing numbers of inquiries

every child, equipping them with the skills

fighting hill fires. He has the benefit of

from parents who want their children to

to navigate an uncertain world.

experience but they have youthful energy

escape from the pressures of the ‘always

and their joint skills make a winning

on’ culture and have a ‘real childhood’. As


well as providing real rather than virtual experiences, boarding schools show young

The lessons learned during these

people how to control their digital lives

experiences outside the classroom are

rather than letting their digital lives control

invaluable. Boarding schools are expert in


raising children and they understand that a good all-round education pays dividends for the rest of someone’s life.

With a degree in music, a 20-year career in media and business and ten years on the Gordonstoun Board of Governors, Lisa became the school’s first female Principal in 2017. She has three children, all at the school, represents the county of Moray at events as one of its Deputy Lord Lieutenants, conducts a local choir and occasionally joins the school orchestra when they are short of a cellist.

Chris Hillman Deputy Head Academic, Godolphin School

What do we mean by a boarder’s progress and how do schools measure it? Progress is one of those words we see a

In its most basic sense, progress is the

progress in the wider sense are likely to have

lot in education – you’ll read it in your

difference between a boarder’s starting

contributed to this effect. Outside the rather

son or daughter’s reports, on school

point and where their journey leads at the

narrow definition of progress in academic

websites and in inspection reports, and

end. In an academic sense, this is often

terms, it is more challenging to measure

there are even league tables for some

the difference between, for example, the

progress in such a quantitative way.

schools based on average academic

GCSE grades that their baseline tests, or

progress in selected GCSEs. But is this

raw ability, might suggest they are heading

Most boarding schools consider the pastoral

the only type of progress, and is it

towards and those they actually achieve

progress and the personal and spiritual

reasonable to attempt to measure this

on results day. Such progress is relatively

development of pupils to be as much a


easy to measure and report on – it is often

priority as their academic development.

quoted as fractions of a whole GCSE grade

Development of so-called ‘soft skills’ is valued

At Godolphin, through our ‘Policy for

compared to where the boarder would be

highly by employers and it is crucial to any

Progress’ we consider progress in a number

expected to be. Schools often term this

successful education to nurture these skills

of broad areas. Academic is of course

sort of progress ‘value added’, a rather

just as much as academic skills.

included but we also focus on personal and

impersonal phrase which hides the stories

pastoral progress, co-curricular progress and

behind each and every grade obtained in

We have a mental health plan to ensure

staff development (by setting a culture of

public examinations.

that each girl is receiving the education she needs to be able to progress positively. A key

everyone progressing and learning, we find this rubs off on the pupils too).

A study of the GCSE results at Godolphin

tenet of this plan is that we have very small

showed that our boarders made more

tutor groups of around 10 pupils. The tutors

academic progress compared to day pupils.

who look after these relatively small groups

The opportunities available to boarders to

of pupils are the focus of the provision of


pastoral care. Tutors meet their tutees daily and also meet frequently with each other and with boarding staff and other senior staff. Their work is coordinated by Heads of Year and the Head of Sixth Form. Academic and pastoral staff meet regularly to discuss pupils who need support and to put in place any support needed. Pastoral progress is difficult to quantify but it can be broadly measured by a combination of professional judgement and pupil selfreflection. Our PSHCEE programme and Elizabeth Godolphin Award Programme in the prep and sixth form are the cornerstones of our provision to encourage personal development. This includes inviting outside specialist speakers who give talks or workshops to the girls, staff and parents as well as sessions run by staff. All pupils attend these sessions but boarders find them especially valuable as they result in the sort of developmental and relationship

commendations are awarded for particularly

curricular clubs to progress in a certain

progress that comes from building

outstanding progress in any field.

area. Through shared experiences with fellow boarders, they gradually become

resilience, learning to lead, and developing Spiritual progress is important for boarding

more independent and able to look after

pupils and is, by its nature, impossible to

themselves and to work and live with others.

The Godolphin Learning Programme is

quantify. We consider it in terms of how

Although our digital strategy undoubtedly

an additional provision offering a diversity

the girls have grown in their understanding

impacts academic progress, it also provides

and breadth in co-curricular activities that

of how to cope when life throws things at

the medium through which pupils learn

include cultural appreciation, mindfulness,

them, and the extent to which they have

digital life skills of efficient, effective and

critical thinking, digital literacy, Bright

developed a sense of mutual respect,

organised working, another benefit of

Futures, library skills and a range of other

wonder and appreciation of the world

considering progress in the round.

topics that extend and progress pupils

around them. As a school we have strong

beyond the curriculum.

links to the diocese of Salisbury and the

Successful boarding schools play a vital

provision of spiritual learning is monitored

role in shaping a pupil’s progress towards

by the school chaplain, tutors and teachers

adulthood. The relationships developed

of relevant subjects.

with other boarders throughout their time

tolerance and mutual respect.

CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES For a boarder to be mentally healthy and for them to continue to progress as a person they need to participate in a range of co-curricular activities, from peer mentoring, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), CCF to cookery, Model United Nations and kickboxing. Boarders find these sessions very accessible as they live onsite and so can replace travel time with these activities without impinging on time needed to complete their academic work and enjoy the boarding family environment.

at school make their progress all the more Progress in these broader areas is non-

palpable as they leave sixth form to navigate

linear – there are the inevitable kinks

their own way in the world.

and twists encountered along the way. How we teach pupils to respond to those unexpected challenges sets the tone for mapping their progress. A newly arrived boarder setting out on their journey may feel a little homesick and need some help to settle into school life. Outstanding pastoral care, knowing the boarders and a good dollop of humour and patience makes

At Godolphin, tutors monitor the

the difference here. A boarder may find

involvement and success of pupils

some subjects easier than others, and this

and this information is shared with

balance may change, or they may need

parents. Commendations and Head’s

encouragement to participate in extra-

After reading Physics at university and gaining a PhD in 2002, Chris began working in the state sector at Queen Elizabeth’s School in Dorset, initially as a Physics teacher, and later as Head of Physics, and subsequently as Second in Science. Chris moved to work in the science department at Godolphin School in 2012, and began the role of Deputy Head Academic in 2019.

Boarding School

Educational provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities

The Equality Act 2010 has made significant changes to the law on discrimination as it affects pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and in particular the extension of duties on schools to include the provision of auxiliary aids and services, which came into place on 1 September 2012. Further guidance can be found in the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Technical Guidance on ‘Reasonable Adjustments for Disabled Pupils – Guidance for Schools in England’ at www.equalityhumanrights. com/en/publication-download/reasonableadjustments-disabled-pupils Although securing support for pupils with SEND via an EHC (Education, Health and Care) Plan (formerly a Statement) remains an enormous challenge for many families, the intention of legislation over recent years has been to make schools much more welcoming and accessible to children with SEND. As a matter of public policy this is clearly a good thing and as a matter of practice there is no doubt schools have made huge progress – which is not to say they could not do even more in future. Parents should always seek to work with (not against) schools in addressing their child’s needs. In my experience, there is little a school finds more unhelpful than parents not being transparent about this. In the end, everyone is united in seeking to ensure children’s needs are met and their best interests are promoted. This article sets out a summary of the law relating to educational provision for pupils with SEND. For more information, including the SEND Code of Practice and SEND: guide for parent and carers, go to For more information about the government’s proposed changes to SEND provisions, see its SEND Review: https://assets.publishing. system/uploads/attachment_data/ file/1063620/SEND_review_right_support_ right_place_right_time_accessible.pdf

DISABILITY The definition of disability for pupils is the same as for disability discrimination in employment. In brief, a pupil with SEND has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment which has

a substantial, long-term and adverse effect on an individual's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. (In employment this definition has been the subject of voluminous litigation.) The definition of disability covers a broad spectrum of impairments. Disabilities may include physical conditions that affect the body, such as epilepsy or hearing impairments, learning and behavioural difficulties, such as dyslexia and autism, and mental health conditions, like depression. In general, there are specific exclusions for substance dependency, seasonal allergies, and tendencies to steal, start fires or physically/ sexually abuse. However, in 2018, the Upper Tribunal in C&C v The Governing Body of a School confirmed that the specific exclusion for those with a tendency to physical abuse towards others will not apply to children in education who have a recognised condition that is more likely to result in such a tendency. The subsequent case of Ashdown House School v JKL reiterated that schools ought to ensure that pupils with SEND who display violence related to their SEND are treated no less favourably than their non-disabled peers.

REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS As for employees, schools have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils. • Where something a school does places a pupil with SEND at a substantial disadvantage compared to other pupils, the school must take reasonable steps to try and avoid that disadvantage. • Schools are under a duty to provide ‘auxiliary aids and services’ as part of the duty to make reasonable adjustments and as such are prohibited from charging fees for auxiliary aids and services which constitute reasonable adjustments. Failure to make reasonable adjustments free of charge amounts to disability discrimination and cannot be justified. Schools are not required to remove or alter physical features (such as historic buildings) in order to comply. Instead, schools have a duty to plan better access for pupils with disabilities generally, including in relation to the physical environment of the school.

David Smellie Partner, Farrer & Co SCOPE The Equality Act requires schools to make reasonable adjustments in connection with: • admissions • the provision of education • access to benefits, services and facilities • exclusions, and/or • subjecting the pupil to any other detriment. TRIGGERS The duty to make reasonable adjustments is only triggered when a pupil suffers a ‘substantial disadvantage’. This is defined as anything more than minor or trivial, and would include for example, having to put in extra time/effort to do something, inconvenience, indignity, discomfort, loss of opportunity and/or diminished progress. WHAT IS AN ‘AUXILIARY AID OR SERVICE’? The EHRC guidance states that an auxiliary aid is ‘anything that provides additional support or assistance to a disabled pupil’ and gives the following examples: • a piece of equipment • a sign language interpreter, lip-speaker or deaf-blind communicator • extra staff assistance • electronic or manual note-taking • induction loop or infra-red broadcast system • videophones • audio-visual fire alarms • readers • assistance with guiding • an adapted keyboard • specialised computer software. CONSEQUENCES The inclusion of ‘auxiliary aids and services’ within the duty to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with SEND has clear consequences for independent schools. One obvious area is the provision of learning support for pupils with special educational needs, which is sometimes subject to an additional fee, in much the same way as music lessons. Essentially, if a pupil with SEND is ‘disabled’ for the purposes of the Act and the support provided for their SEND is an ‘auxiliary aid or service’, the school is not permitted to charge for the learning support if it is a reasonable adjustment. WHAT IS A ‘REASONABLE ADJUSTMENT’? There are no hard and fast rules about what constitutes a reasonable adjustment, since it will vary in any given situation, and the decision ultimately rests with the First Tier Tribunal


(Special Educational Needs and Disability)

unchanged and are contained in Schedule 10

Go to:

(formerly the Special Educational Needs and

of the Act)


still allowed to apply a ‘permitted form of


Sometimes adjustments will be suggested by

selection’ (i.e. an entry test) although they will


external advisors such as the child’s doctor or

need to make reasonable adjustments to such


an educational psychologist. In other cases,

tests, for example, by allowing them to be

parents may request a change on behalf of their

completed on a computer rather than by hand

child. Schools should also themselves consider

in particular cases.

Disability in Schools Tribunal or ‘SENDIST’).

whether there is an adjustment that might overcome a substantial disadvantage suffered by a pupil. Once the potential adjustment has been identified, the school has to decide whether or not it is reasonable taking into account the following factors set out in the EHRC guidelines:

• • • • • • • • •

whether it would overcome the substantial

CLAIMS OF DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION Parents of a child (note not the child themselves) can bring a claim of disability discrimination against a school. There is a time limit of six months from the date when the parents think the discrimination occurred. Such claims are heard by the First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability).


disadvantage practicability of the adjustment

If the Tribunal upholds a claim of unlawful

the effect of the disability on the pupil

discrimination it will not be able to award

financial and other costs of making the

financial compensation. It could order any other


remedy, such as:

whether it will be provided under an EHC

admitting a disabled pupil who had previously

(Education, Health and Care) Plan from the

been refused (this is certainly the case in

local authority

state schools, and case law indicates that

the school’s resources and the availability of

the Tribunal also has the power to order

financial or other assistance

restatement to a private school in certain

health and safety requirements the need to maintain academic, musical,

sporting and other standards the interests of other pupils (and prospective pupils).

circumstances) making reasonable adjustments such as training for staff, extra tuition, review or

alteration of policies or relocation of facilities. in Ashdown House School v JKL, the Upper Tribunal confirmed that tribunals have the

Failure to make a reasonable adjustment cannot

power to order the school to issue an apology

be justified, whereas under the old law it could

to the parents and/or the child if it would

be. The only question therefore is whether

be of some value and appropriate in the

the adjustment is reasonable. Schools are not


expected to make adjustments that are not reasonable. As well as considering reasonable adjustments for particular individual pupils with SEND, schools also have an anticipatory duty to consider potential adjustments which may be needed for pupils with SEND generally as it is likely any school will have a pupil with SEND at some point. However, schools are not obliged to anticipate and make adjustments for every imaginable disability and need only consider general reasonable adjustments, such as being prepared to introduce large-font exam papers for pupils with a visual impairment even though there are no such pupils currently admitted to the school.

PLANNING DUTIES Schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010 sets out the accessibility arrangements schools must implement for pupils with SEND. These are also known as schools’ ‘planning duties’. An independent school is obliged to draw up accessibility plans to improve access to education over time. Such plans should concentrate on three specific areas:

• • •

increasing the extent to which disabled pupils can participate in the curriculum physical improvements to improve access to education and associated services availability of accessible information for disabled pupils.

Such a strategic and wider view of the school’s approach to planning for pupils with SEND links

Independent schools are required to prepare

closely with its planning duties.

these plans in writing, and implement them

A prospective pupil with moderate learning difficulties applies for entry to a school but fails the entrance examination. Their parents argue for a reduced pass mark. However, the school is not satisfied the pupil has sufficient literacy skills to benefit from the education on offer. In these circumstances it may be reasonable for the school not to adjust its entry requirements to accommodate the pupil. The parents of a prospective pupil with dyslexia claim they should be allowed extra time and the use of a personal computer during the entry examinations. However, there is no evidence to sustain this claim. It may be reasonable for the school to reject this request. If evidence supported the claim, it is likely it would be reasonable to allow this. A sixth-form pupil who has been diagnosed with ADD finds it difficult to concentrate while reading long texts. They would like to take A Level English and ask for the entire reading list in downloadable audio form. The school accepted a similar request from the same pupil for GCSE English, which proved to be ineffective. The reading list is very long and changes every year making the cost high for the school. The school refuses. This is likely to be deemed reasonable provided the school has researched other ways for the pupil to access the reading list. A sixth-form pupil who has been diagnosed with dyslexia finds it difficult to read long texts and ideally would like all his books on audio tape. However his A-level courses have very long reading lists which change every year, and the school deems it impractical to provide every book in tape form. This is likely to be deemed reasonable provided the school has researched other ways for him to access the reading list. A pupil with learning difficulties finds it difficult to follow the more theoretical parts of classroom teaching and their parents ask that teachers go very slowly over the parts they find difficult to make sure they have understood them. However, the slow pace of delivery would prevent the other pupils finishing the syllabus and put their grades at risk. It is likely to be reasonable for the school not to make this adjustment, although other alternatives should be considered, such as extra tuition outside classroom hours, as might be offered to any other struggling pupil. A small school has little experience of pupils with SEND and is considering admitting a pupil with a rare syndrome involving moderate learning difficulties, poor muscle tone and speech and language difficulties. The Head consults the child’s parents and a local voluntary organisation and devises a series of short staff training events drawing on available expertise. This is likely to be a reasonable adjustment. A secondary school has a special unit for children with special educational needs and disabilities including pupils with a visual impairment. The school is already equipped for providing enlarged text and braille versions of documents. When working in the unit children are always provided with information in a range of formats before the lesson. This is rarely the case when the same children are working in the mainstream classes in the school. Not providing the information in time is likely to be a failure to make reasonable adjustments, leaving pupils with SEND at a disadvantage.

as necessary. Accessibility plans are subject

EXCEPTIONS There are some exceptions. Schools are: • not required to remove or alter physical features to comply with the reasonable adjustments duty (although their duties in connection with Accessibility Plans remain

to review as part of an Ofsted inspection. The Department for Education’s ‘Guidance on Statutory policies for schools and academy trusts’ states these should be reviewed annually.

David has an extensive schools practice and is widely acknowledged as one of the leading schools lawyers in the UK. He specialises in child protection, safeguarding, pupil disciplinary matters, SEND and schools-related employment issues for a client base that includes many of the UK’s best-known schools.

Special educational needs provision in boarding schools

Sally Moore Head of Learning Support, Fulneck School When it comes to education, parents want the best for their children but this may be even more important for parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). According to The Children and Families Act 2014, Section 20, ‘A child or young person has SEN if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for SEN provision to be made for him or her’. This includes dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, attention deficit hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism. Problems associated with these conditions can lead to issues with schoolwork, personal organisation, relationships with adults, developing and maintaining friendships or sensory and physical needs. Fulneck School is one of the only CReSTeD schools based in the north of England.

The Equality Act 2010 and its definition

with access to equipment and resources

of disability has given pupils who have

designed specifically for pupils with SEND.

significant difficulty in reading and

In most cases teaching takes place in small

understanding the written word, as well

classes which allows the maximum amount

as other impairments, the right to have

of time to be allocated to each individual,

appropriate arrangements for them to

who in turn is able to learn at his or her

demonstrate their abilities. The SEN Code

own pace.

of Practice 2014 and the introduction of Education and Health Care plans also mean that parents have greater freedom of choice in regard to their child’s education and some authorities fund additional specialist support in an independent school. The benefits of choosing a boarding school for children with SEND include the dedicated support which is readily available for each pupil, depending on their individual needs. This extends to additional opportunities for more focused one-to-one

USING TECHNOLOGY Advancements in technology have greatly improved the education provision for children with SEND by helping to break down several barriers to learning. Equipment such as voice-activated software, reading pens, text readers and software to assist in the development of reading and mathematical skills are likely to feature strongly in the package of services available to pupils, as is the emphasis on developing typing and touch typing techniques.

tuition when required. Fulneck School is an independent boarding In specialist schools tailored curricula

and day school with a dedicated learning

are delivered by highly trained teachers

support unit (LSU) providing continuity


of teaching and support from Year 2 to Year 13. The school has met the criteria of The Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils (CReSTeD) continually since 1996 and is approved under Category LSC (Learning Support Centre) as a school offering a learning support unit, with specialist staff and

pupils a choice of fully inclusive

appreciation of the environment, teaching

teachers who can accommodate pupils’

co-curricular clubs and activities which help

methods and whether these will suit them.

needs in the classroom. The aim of the LSU

them develop new interests and boost self-

It is also important to meet the Principal

at Fulneck is to identify individual special


and understand the ethos of the school and its attitudes to SEND.

needs and to provide teaching programmes and strategies to allow every student access

An extension to mentoring and continual

to the curriculum at a level commensurate

assessment is the strong pastoral care that

All schools are different and it is anything

with their intellectual ability. Tuition is in

will be evident in most boarding schools,

but the case that one type fits all. But

small groups or one-to-one delivered by

in addition to a qualified nurse(s) who

making the correct choice from the many

experienced and specialist teachers using

can liaise with healthcare professionals

options available and the whole boarding

a range of multi-sensory teaching methods

regarding the implementation of Education

school experience can be very rewarding

and technology.

and Health Care Plans and who can support

for pupils with SEND and can give them a

the wide range of pupils’ needs.

chance to really flourish and exceed their

MONITORING AND MENTORING In boarding schools pupils with SEND can also be continually assessed, monitored and mentored outside the classroom which can lead to improvements in social interaction and confidence. By the very nature of a boarding school environment, teachers and support staff can monitor the behavioural patterns of children at close quarters. This includes how they play, socialise and manage the many challenges of daily life. Boarding schools also offer

potential. Of course choosing the right school is a critical decision with far-reaching consequences and one that requires thorough research. Parents should request detailed information about a schools’ SEND provision and gain a clear understanding of which conditions they specifically cater for and how. Visiting the school and meeting the SEND team is an important part of that process, allowing potential parents and pupils the opportunity to gain a true

Sally began her teaching career as a VSO volunteer teaching English in Kiribati. She has taught in many different countries and once spent a summer teaching flying trapeze at an American summer camp. Sally joined Fulneck School as Head of Learning Support in 2019. She loves the family feel of the school and the way the adults know the children so well. In the learning support unit she is able to implement learning in the best way to suit each individual pupil.


What is CReSTeD and how does it help boarding families?

Brendan Wignall Headmaster, Ellesmere College and Chair, CReSTeD

The Council for the Registration of

dyspraxia, dyscalculia, attention deficit

more SpLD and cover all levels of provision

Schools Teaching Dyslexic pupils

disorder (ADD), as well as pragmatic and

and both state and independent provision.

(CReSTeD) is a charity set up in 1989

semantic language difficulties.

The vast majority of schools on the Register

with the aim of helping parents and

are mainstream, offering a wide range of

those who advise them to choose

The CReSTeD Council includes

teaching styles, environment and facilities.

schools for children with Specific

representatives from a wide area of SpLD

The Register is free of charge to parents.

Learning Difficulties (SpLD). It is

provision including Dyslexia Action, the

a valuable resource for parents,

British Dyslexia Association, Helen Arkell

educational advisers and schools and

Dyslexia Centre, the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust

acts as a source of information for

and schools.

parents. The main SpLD is dyslexia but there is a general recognition that dyslexia rarely exists in isolation – the latest research demonstrates a high level of co-occurrence with other difficulties. These include

THE REGISTER CReSTeD publishes annually and maintains a list of schools and centres accredited for their SpLD provision – this is called the Register. The schools and centres listed in the Register provide for pupils with one or

SpLD provision is divided into six broad

categories. Of these, five are for schools:

Dyslexia Specialist Provision (DSP)

schools established primarily to teach pupils with Dyslexia

• Learning Support Centre (LSC) schools offer a designated unit that provides specialist tuition on a small group or individual basis, according to need


Without doubt it is the best decision we as a family have made and after and getting the best start in life possible. Currently stationed for their future we are immensely proud and grateful for what the in Cyprus, this can bring extra concerns with distance and travel; school is offering both Jordan and Rhys. We will never stop being a however the school understands and supports the children even BSA GUIDE BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN / SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS / 135 close-knit family2022 despite the separation, but we knowAND thatDISABILITIES Queen more to ensure they remain active yetTHE in contact withTOparents. Victoria is helping towards their future, and providing the stability Providing Skype has been a godsend. The friends that they have and ever-lasting friendship that they have been seeking. ■ made already I know will remain for life, and that is also evident

• Maintained Schools (MS) local authority schools able


to demonstrate an effective

Every school and centre on the

system for identifying pupils

CReSTeD Register has been

with dyslexia

independently verified for

• Specialist Provision (SPS)

SpLD provision by CReSTeD

schools are specifically

consultants (not the case in all

established to teach pupils

other lists).

Council ffor or tthe he R egistration of Council Registration Schools Teachi ng Dysl exic pupi ls Schools Teaching Dyslexic pupils

W e give give you We IInformation nformation & C hoice Choice

with dyslexia and other related specific learning

The first stage of registration


is for the school to complete

• Withdrawal System (WS) schools help dyslexic pupils by withdrawing them from appropriately selected lessons for specialist tuition and one is for centres:

• Teaching Centre (TC) designated centre providing specialist tuition on a small group or individual basis, according to need. The categories provide guidance on the type of provision given by a school. One category should not be seen as ‘better’ than another. Children have different requirements and personalities and the categories are a way of helping match each child to the type of provision at the school or centre. A report from an educational psychologist or a specialist teacher who holds an Assessment Practising Certificate should offer parents guidance as to the level of provision their child requires. For example, a child at the severe end of the dyslexia spectrum may require a Dyslexia Specialist Provision school whereas a child with only some slowness in spelling skills may be suitably provided for in a school from the Withdrawal System category. The Register includes a checklist to help parents decide whether a school or centre can meet their child’s educational needs in relation to SpLD. It also provides a geographical index of schools.

O ur advice advice is is independent independent Our b ut well well informed informed but

the CReSTeD registration form and to provide supporting

Choosing a school is one of the biggest decisions you make for your child and it is not easy

documentation, such as policies for dyslexia. This form covers staff development, admission policy, organisation

You need all the help you can get

of the school week, specific arrangements for SpLD pupils,

Our Register is available to download from our website:

examination results for the whole school and for SpLD pupils in particular, resources www. .crested.or t d

and a list of parents’ names so

All the e information informat you need is right there there.

that the consultant may check parents’ feelings about the school or centre. The criteria include the provision of relevant and high

Contact CReSTeD via email: Registered charity charity no. 1052103 Registered Council for fo or the the Registration Registration of S chools Teac hing D yslexic P upils Council Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils

quality information technology resources, Joint Council for

Qualifications (JCQ)-approved March 2015 training qualifications for

teachers, awareness of the needs of dyslexic pupils on the part of non-specialist staff, and arrangements to obtain and provide special provision for

with the SpLD provision in Service Parents’ Guide to Boarding Schools 35 accordance with the criteria

set by CReSTeD. This enables CReSTeD to retain the school’s details in the Register without the need for an extra visit.


CReSTeD Council initiates

During a visit to a school or

cause for concern about a

centre, the consultant checks whether this information is

‘responsive’ visits if it has any particular school.

accurate and ensures the


school or centre meets the

The CReSTeD website www.

criteria set by CReSTeD Council contains all the

for the particular category.

information in the Register. It is updated as new information

Schools and centres are

is received, or new schools

visited on a three-year cycle,

approved, and contains links to

with possible earlier visits if

the websites of all registered

there are substantial changes,

schools and centres as well

which should always be swiftly

as to other websites that may

communicated to CReSTeD. If

be of assistance to parents

the Head of a CReSTeD school

of children with one or more

changes, the school must


inform CReSTeD and the new Head must confirm that the

For further information email

school intends to continue

Brendan Wignall has been Headmaster of Ellesmere College since 1996 and is Chair of CReSTeD. After teaching English at Oakham and Christ’s Hospital, he became Head of English and Registrar of Denstone College. His main interests are his family, Ellesmere, Liverpool FC, gardening and culture in the broadest sense (excluding only country music!).

Provision in the independent sector for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities Pupils with SEND continue to be very well educated within the independent sector and this is undoubtedly one of the sector’s strengths. Many parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities take them out of the maintained sector because the class sizes are too big and they feel there is not enough individual support. The independent sector offers a range of choice not available within the maintained sector. Specialist Provision Schools (SPS) are approved for specific learning difficulties, with associated language difficulties, such as dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Dyslexia Specialist Provision Schools (DSP) are established primarily to teach pupils with dyslexia. There are also mainstream boarding schools with designated units or centres providing specialist tuition on a small group or individual basis. In January 2015, 66,026 pupils (33,311 boarders) were identified as having SEND. The most common SEND is dyslexia (321,169) followed by information processing (9,053), dyspraxia (5,459), gross and fine motor skills (3,720) and Asperger’s syndrome (3,597). The table below lists independent boarding schools on the CReSTeD Register providing support for pupils with SEND.

Independent boarding schools on the CReSTeD Register providing support for pupils with SEND Specialist Provision Schools (SPS) are approved for specific learning difficulties, and associated language difficulties, dyspraxia and ADHD. Category





Appleford School



More House School


Dyslexia Specialist Provision Schools (DSP) are established primarily to teach pupils with dyslexia. Category





Bredon School



Bruern Abbey School

Chesterton, Oxfordshire


Frewen College



St David’s College


Some mainstream boarding schools have a designated unit or centre providing specialist tuition. School



Barnardiston Hall Preparatory School

Barnardiston, Suffolk

Bedstone College

Bucknell, Shropshire

Bethany School

Cranbrook, Kent

Brockhurst & Marlston House Schools

Newbury, Berkshire

Clayesmore Preparatory School

Blandford Forum, Dorset

Clayesmore School

Blandford Forum, Dorset

Cobham Hall School

Cobham, Kent

Ellesmere College

Ellesmere, Shropshire

Finborough School

Stowmarket, Suffolk

Fulneck School

Leeds, West Yorkshire

Hazlegrove Preparatory School

Yeovil, Somerset

Kingham Hill School

Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

King’s School

Bruton, Somerset

Kingsley School

Bideford, Devon

Kingswood House School

Epsom, Surrey

Lime House School

Carlisle, Cumbria

Millfield School

Street, Somerset

Millfield Preparatory School

Glastonbury, Somerset

Sidcot School

Winscombe, North Somerset

Slindon College

Arundel, Sussex

Tettenhall College

Wolverhampton, West Midlands

Walhampton School

Lymington, Hampshire

Wycliffe College Preparatory School

Stonehouse, Gloucestershire

Wycliffe College

Stonehouse, Gloucestershire


GCSEs and IGCSEs in a changed curricular landscape

Charlie Hammel Deputy Head Academic, St Swithun’s School, Winchester

Any parent considering a boarding school

Over many years independent schools perceived

of IGCSEs. Assessment is linear, with exams at

for their child at 11+ or 13+ entry is certain

a number of advantages in IGCSEs:

the end of the two-year course, and other forms

to discover that changes to the main curriculum options at ages 14–16 (Years 10 and 11) – GCSEs and IGCSEs – will become relevant for their son or daughter in the coming years.

• greater emphasis on breadth and depth of knowledge, in addition to cultivation of skills

• a higher degree of academic rigour • more insulation from political change • the opportunity to devote more curricular

time to teaching than to formal assessments

This is an exciting stage of education because it

• the chance for pupils to mature intellectually

of assessment, including controlled assessment, have been removed or significantly reduced. These changes are already being reflected in IGCSEs. They have been adjusted to reflect additional content in the new GCSEs, and most domestic IGCSEs have adopted the new 9–1 grading system. A series of studies published

is when most pupils have their first opportunity

with less interruption over a two-year

in 2019 showed that the two qualifications

to begin selecting some subject options and


are broadly comparable, although individual examination boards continue to refine IGCSE

determining their own academic programme. As it also leads to formal qualifications in the

More than 84 per cent of leading independent

grading on a subject-by-subject basis in order

shape of (I)GCSEs, an understanding of what

schools now offer a mixture of GCSEs and

to align the assessment as closely as possible

schools offer currently and how that is likely to

IGCSEs. This is the approach we have adopted

to that of GCSEs, an effort supported by

be affected by recent changes to the curricular

at St Swithun’s, where each subject department

independent schools and their membership

landscape is useful.

has autonomy to select the course offering the


most appropriate blend of academic rigour,

EVOLVING QUALIFICATIONS International GCSEs (IGCSEs) are longestablished qualifications, originally developed as equivalent to GCSEs for international schools. Their structure has remained essentially ‘linear’, which means assessment takes place by examination at the end of the two-year course. By contrast, before 2015 GCSEs had evolved differently and become more ‘modular’, with courses subdivided into relatively discrete units. This ‘modularisation’ was matched by more piecemeal assessment, with opportunities to complete coursework (or ‘controlled assessment’) and take some examination papers throughout the course. Recent reforms to GCSEs in England have reversed that trend by introducing new, linear GCSE courses graded on a numerical 9–1 scale, while those in Wales and Northern Ireland retain the A* to G grading system.

accessibility and progression to further study at A level. Some schools prefer either GCSEs or IGCSEs exclusively. Both qualifications are respected, valued and understood by universities and employers. There are advantages to a mixed economy of GCSEs and IGCSEs. In the examination period, IGCSE papers tend to both begin and end a couple of weeks earlier than GCSEs.

ADVICE FOR PARENTS AND PUPILS Parents and pupils should feel able to ask informed questions about the (I)GCSE courses offered by a school, and the school should be able to explain how it has responded to curricular changes and the rationale for the combination of courses it offers. More specific questions can be posed, often on a subject level, about how each course helps to meet the needs and interests of pupils at that school.

So in a demanding time for Year 11 pupils, those studying for a mixture of the two can

Just as it is important to be aware of past trends

find that their examinations are spread over a

and recent reforms, in making subject choices

slightly longer time period, which can help in

pupils are always best advised to play to their

managing final revision and preparation. There

own strengths and select the subjects they find

are positives for schools as well. The surge

most interesting and enjoyable. The finer details

in popularity of IGCSEs over the last decade,

of structure of any (I)GCSE course should not be a

recent reforms to GCSEs and corresponding

deciding factor because after all the qualification

revisions to IGCSEs mean that for most subjects

itself only lends a structure, albeit an important

schools are increasingly able to choose from

one, for pupils’ learning at this level.

several up-to-date linear specifications. Over the past decade independent boarding schools, and independent schools generally, have helped drive a proliferation of IGCSEs within the UK. In 2017 IGCSEs reached a peak at over 48 per cent of examinations taken by Year 11 pupils in independent schools, a percentage that had more than quadrupled since 2010, when IGCSEs made up only 11 per cent of entries.

NATIONAL REFORMS The introduction of linear GCSEs, with the stated aim of making them more rigorous, has sparked renewed interest in the choice between IGCSEs and GCSEs and comparability of the qualifications. The first of these new examinations were taken in summer 2017 in English language, English literature and mathematics, and all subjects were reformed by summer 2019. In practice, the new GCSEs have taken on many characteristic features

Charlie Hammel has been Deputy Head Academic at St Swithun’s School, Winchester, since 2014. He was previously Head of History at King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham. Before that he was Head of Scholars at Warwick School, where he taught History, Politics and Latin. He read History and Medieval Studies at Princeton University and completed a postgraduate Master’s in Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews before embarking on a teaching career in independent schools.

Sixth form – future ready, set, go! Rhiannon Wilkinson Head, Ashville College The sixth-form years are great

effects of climate change? Will the

opportunities and career advice. Sixth

fun but they are also of crucial

phenomenal pace of technology

form should provide the tools young

importance. They are about getting

improve our lives for the better or

people need to flourish, no matter

pupils exam ready, university ready,

present new moral and societal

where their passions lie.

career ready – in short, ‘future

challenges? Will we be prepared for

ready’ – building strong academic

future pandemics?

foundations and developing the

I have often said high quality English boarding education is the best in the

personal characteristics and

The role of the sixth form should

world, and parents are fortunate to

social skills for future success and

not be to create an ‘exam factory’.

have their pick of so many exceptional

fulfilment, no matter what lies

It is to provide a happy, purposeful

schools. But choosing one from many,


environment in which young people

particularly for families who are not

transition from adolescence to

in the UK, can be challenging. So what

We only need to ask ourselves the

adulthood, emerging as confident

should you look for in a boarding sixth

current big questions to understand

young people ready to face the


why gaining good results is not the

world. They can only do this if their

only goal of post-16 education. Will

sixth form offers enough choice of

we have discovered and implemented

courses, academic enrichment routes,

ways to stop or even reverse the

co-curricular activities, leadership


HIGH LEVELS OF ACADEMIC CHALLENGE AND RIGOUR It is important to choose a school with a strong academic culture, focused on driving up standards and results and never standing still. The proportion of pupils gaining admission to Russell Group universities should be high. Look for a good and varied range of courses, particularly A levels, including traditional subjects and your child’s intended degree-specific subjects, and BTECs. Some schools offer a range of complementary qualifications that help to open doors and stand your child out from the crowd. For example, at Ashville we offer the highly flexible OCR Cambridge Technicals in Performing Arts. We also offer courses for pupils who wish to study in the US. We are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges to support pupils in gaining the High School Diploma and we offer Advanced Placement courses to give college applicants an extra edge. This year for the first time we have offered A levels in Classical Civilisation and Government and Politics. OXBRIDGE, COMPETITIVE AND INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION SUPPORT Sixth form is a time to aim high. If your child is set on Oxbridge, studying medicine or going to university overseas, the sixth form you are considering should demonstrate it is able to help them on that trajectory – the rest, of course, is up to the individual child and their hard work and commitment. At Ashville we offer a bespoke programme for pupils aspiring to Oxford or Cambridge, and for medicine, veterinary science or dentistry courses. We often involve our alumni and other members of the community in mock interviews. ACADEMIC ENRICHMENT AVENUES Increasingly, sixth forms are offering an engaging and meaningful programme of academic enrichment. The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) was created by exam boards in collaboration with leading UK universities. It is an AS level qualification, with the possibility of achieving an A* grade. Cambridge University says: ‘We welcome the EPQ and would encourage applicants to take one as it will help to develop independent study and research skills valuable for higher education.’ The Archbishop of York Leadership Award is another qualification

geared to individuals’ interests, skills

when they are happy. The activities sixth-

and future aspirations. It is also highly

formers pursue should also be relevant

regarded by the UK’s leading universities.

to their future and to the advancement

These pupil-led qualifications can be taken

of technology and how this transforms

alongside A levels, earn UCAS points and

jobs. At Ashville we are developing the

enable pupils to make their voices heard at

co-curricular experience to reflect the

a young age.

World Economic Forum’s ‘top 10 job skills of tomorrow’ by offering activities such

POSITIONS OF LEADERSHIP AND RESPONSIBILITY Ambitious pupils are keen to take on extra challenges and broaden their horizons. Good sixth forms offer a wide range of opportunities, from prefect positions and house captains to more informal roles, all of which enable pupils to develop skills such as public speaking and communication. More formal leadership roles, such as the Red Tie Prefects at Ashville, involve a formal application and interview process, emulating a university or apprenticeship. A TAILORED CO-CURRICULAR PROGRAMME Good schools recognise the major benefits of co-curricular activities for health and attainment – pupils learn best

as coding, leadership and enterprise. Having a ‘future ready’ focus will ensure sixth-formers leave with not only the right qualifications but also the in-demand skills they need to thrive in the rapidly evolving global marketplace.

Rhiannon Wilkinson is the eleventh and first female Head of Ashville College. Her career includes a Headship at Wycombe Abbey and teaching and senior positions in schools in the UK, Hong Kong and Brunei. Most recently, Rhiannon was the founding Head of Whittle School Shenzhen which opened simultaneously alongside its sister school Whittle School Washington DC. Between 2009 and 2013 she was the Principal of Harrogate Ladies’ College. She studied Modern History at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, before undertaking a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) at Bath University.

Sixth-form programmes – the choice Students entering the sixth form have a range of options as shown below. Most schools offer a combination. The Cambridge Pre-U is being withdrawn. The last entry is 2021 with last examinations in 2023 (last resit June 2024). We have therefore removed this qualification from the table. A level

International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma


AQA Baccalaureate

Who is it for?

16 to 19 year olds

16 to 19 year olds

16 to 19 year olds

16 to 19 year olds

What can you study?

Most students study three or four A levels.

Six subjects (three at Higher Level and three at Standard Level). All students must study literature, a foreign language, a humanities subject, a natural science and mathematics.

Level 3 qualifications, Extended Certificate equivalent to 1 A level, Diploma to 2 A levels and Extended Diploma to 3 A levels. Certificate is equivalent to 1 AS level.

Three A-level subjects in any academic discipline.

How does it work?

The linear A level was introduced with first examination in 2017. Students can take a freestanding AS level but it no longer forms part of the A level. The A level is assessed after two years of study.

Over two years, in addition to their six subjects, students complete a 4,000-word Extended Essay and a Theory of Knowledge course, and participate in the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) programme. All exams are taken at the end of the second year of study, there are no modules. Conceived as a holistic integral programme bound by a clear philosophy.

BTECs are offered across 16 sectors and comprise core and optional units. The courses are assessed internally and externally and some modules can be retaken. Assignments can include exams, essays, research and investigative projects, and experiments and fieldwork.

In addition to their three A levels, students complete an Extended Project Qualification that aims to make them responsible for their own learning; achieve breadth through an AS level in Critical Thinking, Citizenship, General Studies, Science in society or World development; and undertake enrichment activities outside the curriculum such as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

What is it worth?

The table below shows the UCAS tariff points awarded for linear A levels.

The table below shows the UCAS tariff points awarded for the IB Certificate in Higher Level. Certificates in Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge also attract UCAS tariff points when the certificates have been taken individually.

95% of universities accept BTECs, but acceptance may be course-dependent. Grading is from Distinction*, Distinction, Merit, Pass. UCAS points for double grades for Diplomas (and triple grades for Extended Diplomas) are calculated from the points for single grades.

Maximum 216 UCAS tariff points for three A* A levels, grade A* Extended Project (28 points) and a standalone AS level at grade A (20 points).


Tariff points














Tariff points

Extended Certificate

Tariff Diploma points

Tariff points

Extended Diploma

Tariff points

























































Where can you study it?

Schools and FE colleges.

115 schools and colleges in the UK offer the IB Diploma.

Schools and colleges – some students study across two institutions or alongside employment or an apprenticeship.

UK schools which believe A levels are not, in themselves, sufficient preparation for university.


Still the best-known sixthform qualification in the UK, and taken by the largest number of students as their means of entry into higher education. Some schools offer the Extended Project Qualification in addition to A levels.

Internationally recognised and valued. Heavier class-based workload than A levels and more independent learning. The percentage of candidates achieving the different grades has remained constant over the years.

BTECs are highly regarded, offering a well-proven route into employment, training and university. Modular assessment, focus on skills and opportunities for work experience make them an attractive complement to A levels as well as a very useful standalone qualification. They are becoming more popular in schools, usually alongside one or two A levels. Sports Science and Business Studies are popular.

AQA Baccalaureate is derived in large part from the spirit of the IB Diploma Programme: depth, some breadth, thinking and research skills, and co-curricular experience.

To find out more, go to


? “Deciding to invest in education can be the most important decision a parent makes.”

School fee planning Deciding to invest in education can be the most important decision a parent makes. But operating a school is expensive. Almost two-thirds of the cost is in staff, the most valuable resource a school has. Money is also needed to pay for facilities, utilities, food and teaching resources. There can be a wide range in fees to cover this cost according to age group, the school and what it offers. Extras add

Andrew Ashton Bursar, Radley College

to the bill and schools have different

termly boarding fee was £12,344. So it

the equity in the family house to spread

approaches to this, so it is worth

is important to prepare for paying fees.

fees over the term of the mortgage.


Financial planning can help reduce the

burden, so do take professional advice.

PLANNING FOR SCHOOL FEES Fees for a boarding education from 13 to 18 vary from £60,000 (in a state boarding school where tuition is paid by the state) to more than £200,000. In 2021–22 the ISC census reported that the average

Planning should consider the following.

SPREADING THE COST Schemes can help spread fee payments over a longer period to make them more affordable. One way of doing this is against

INVESTING A LUMP SUM Early investment reduces the need to use earnings for fees in later years. This approach can be tailored to individual requirements. Some schools offer schemes for advance fee payment; if you have a lump sum available, this is worth exploring.

REGULAR SAVING Regular saving should start as soon as

otherwise be unable to enter the school.

be honorary accolades that come with no

possible. The longer you save, the less the

Parents will usually be asked to complete

fee discount. In general, schools limit the

reliance on earnings when fees fall due.

an application, providing details of their

value of scholarships, such that any extra

financial circumstances with supporting

funding being awarded is strictly subject to


financial need.


Other educational awards

Charitable trusts can help in cases of

Many schools offer awards to children of

need. For example, the Royal National

members of the Armed Services, clergy,

Children's SpringBoard Foundation (RNCSF)

teachers or other professions. Some

supports children in the UK who are from

support children of former pupils, single-

challenging circumstances. The charity

parent families and orphans, or offer

helps by providing grants and boarding

concessions for siblings.

PAYMENT PROTECTION It is important to ensure the payment of fees can continue in the event of a change in circumstances. A lump sum can be provided by life insurance. Income protection plans can provide income in the event of specified illnesses or accidents. Fees refund schemes can provide cover in the event of absence through illness or accident. TRUST PLANNING Trust planning can be useful to make provisions for school fees and achieve inheritance tax benefits. Financial advice should be sought when establishing trusts. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE Bursaries Many schools offer bursaries to help parents pay fees. These are awarded after a ‘means test’ of family income. Bursaries may be awarded in addition to a scholarship where financial need is demonstrated, and the child would

school places for children who have suffered trauma, tragedy or neglect in their

There is much to consider and a great

young lives. Details can be found at

deal of financial help available. Read this or through

Guide thoroughly and explore schools’

the Directory of Grant Making Trusts at

websites. Above all, do not be afraid

to ask schools how they can support your family. It can be a lengthy task, but


potentially very worthwhile. Plan early and

Many schools offer scholarships to attract

seek advice.

talented pupils. A scholarship is awarded for academic promise or based on ability in music, art or another specialism or allround merit. They are usually awarded after a competitive examination and interview and take no account of financial need. Scholarships vary in value – they may

FURTHER INFORMATION SFIA School Fees Planning Tel: 0845 4583690 Andrew Ashton was educated at Newcastle Royal Grammar School and Oxford University. After a career at Barclays and in consulting, Andrew has been Bursar at Radley College since 2008. Andrew has also served as a governor at a number of schools.




Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA)

Disability Rights UK

Naval Families Federation (NFF)

BSA State Boarding Forum (SBF)


Army Families Federation (AFF)



RAF Families Federation

Independent Schools Council (ISC)

Choir Schools’ Association (CSA)

Department for Education (DfE)

Music and Dance Scheme


Association of Governing Bodies of

Independent Schools Show


Woodard Schools

Independent Schools (AGBIS)


Methodist Independent Schools Trust

BSA Certified Guardians

Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC)

Catholic Independent Schools’ Conference

(CISC) BSA Certified Agents


Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS)


Welsh Independent Schools Council (WISC) British Council

Independent Schools Association (ISA) Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) Inspiring The Future

Council of British International Schools (COBIS)

Society of Heads Independent Schools Examinations Board

UK Council for International Student Affairs


(UKCISA) Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI)

qualifications and skills (UK ENIC)

UK National Information Centre for global

Independent Schools’ Bursars Association (ISBA)


International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)


British Dyslexia Association (BDA)

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service


Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils (CReSTeD)

Educational Trusts’ Forum

Dyslexia Action

Royal National Children’s SpringBoard

Foundation (Royal SpringBoard)

BSA member schools UK MEMBERS Abberley Hall School Abbey College, Cambridge Abbey College, Manchester Abbotsholme School Abingdon School Abrar Academy ACKWORTH SCHOOL ACS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL COBHAM Adcote School Al Jamiatul Islamiyyah Aldenham School Aldro School Aldwickbury School All Hallows School Ampleforth College Appleford School Ardingly College Ardvreck School Ashfold School Ashford School Ashville College Atlantic College Aysgarth School BADMINTON SCHOOL Barnard Castle School Barnardiston Hall Preparatory School Bath Academy Battle Abbey School Beachborough School Beaudesert Park School Bedales (incl Prep) Bede’s Preparatory School Bede’s Senior School Bedford School Bedstone College Beech Grove School and Academy Beechen Cliff School Beechwood Park School Beechwood Sacred Heart School Beeston Hall School Belhaven Hill School Bellerbys College Brighton Bellerbys College, London Belmont School Benenden School BERKHAMSTED SCHOOL Bethany School Bilton Grange School Bishop’s Stortford College (incl Prep) Bishopstrow College Bloxham School Blundell’s School Bootham School Bosworth Independent College Boundary Oak School Bournemouth Collegiate School Box Hill School Bradfield College Brambletye School Bredon School Brentwood School BRIGHTON COLLEGE Bristol International College Brockhurst And Marlston House Schools Brockwood Park School BROMSGROVE SCHOOL (INCL PREP) Brooke House College Brookes United Kingdom Bruern Abbey School Bruton School for Girls (Incl Prep) Bryanston School Brymore Academy

Buckswood School BURFORD SCHOOL Burgess Hill Girls Caldicott Preparatory School Cambridge Tutors College Campbell College Canford School Cardiff Academy Sixth Form College Cardiff Sixth Form College Cargilfield Preparatory School Casterton Sedbergh Preparatory School Caterham School CATS College, Cambridge CATS College, Canterbury CATS College, London Chafyn Grove School Charterhouse School Chase Grammar School Cheam School Cheltenham College (incl Prep) Cheltenham Ladies’ College Cherwell College Oxford Chetham’s School of Music Chigwell School Christ Church Cathedral School Christ College, Brecon Christ’s Hospital School CITY OF LONDON FREEMEN’S SCHOOL Claremont School Clayesmore Preparatory School Clayesmore School Clifton College Clifton College Preparatory School Cobham Hall School Colchester Royal Grammar School Concord College Copthorne Preparatory School Cothill House School Cotswold Chine School Cottesmore School Cranbrook School Cranleigh School (Incl Prep) Culford School (Incl Prep) Cumnor House School Cundall Manor School Dallam School Darul Uloom Dawatul Imaan Darul Uloom London School DAUNTSEY’S SCHOOL David Game College Dean Close Preparatory School Dean Close School Dean Close St John’s DENSTONE COLLEGE DLD COLLEGE, LONDON Dollar Academy Dorset House School Dover College d’Overbroeck’s DOWNE HOUSE SCHOOL Downside School Dragon School DULWICH COLLEGE Dulwich Preparatory School, Cranbrook Durham School Eagle House School Earlscliffe Eastbourne College Edgeborough School Ellesmere College Elmfield Rudolf Steiner School Elmhurst Ballet School, Birmingham

Elstree School Embley Epsom College Eton College Exeter Cathedral School Exeter College Fairview International School Farleigh School Farlington School Farringtons School FELSTED SCHOOL (INCL PREP) Feltonfleet School FETTES COLLEGE (INCL PREP) Five Islands Academy Foremarke Hall, Repton Preparatory School Forres Sandle Manor School Framlingham College Preparatory School Frensham Heights School (Incl Junior) Frewen College Fulneck School Fyling Hall School Trust LTD George Watson’s College GIGGLESWICK SCHOOL Glenalmond College Godolphin School Godstowe Preparatory School GORDON’S SCHOOL Gordonstoun (Incl Junior) Great Ballard School Gresham’s School (incl Prep) Haberdashers’ Adams Haileybury Hall Grove School Handcross Park School Hanford School Harrogate Ladies’ College Harrow School Hatherop Castle Prep School HAZLEGROVE PREPARATORY SCHOOL Headington School Heath Mount School Heathfield School Hereford Cathedral School Highfield School Hockerill Anglo-European College Holmewood House School Holmwood House School (incl Prep) Holyport College Horris Hill School Hurstpierpoint College Hurtwood House School International School of Creative Arts Ipswich High School Ipswich School Jamea Al Kauthar Jamia Al - Hudaa Jersey College for Girls Junior King’s School, Canterbury Kensington Park School Kent College Nursery, Infant and Junior School Kent College, Canterbury Kent College, Pembury (Incl Prep) Keswick School Kilgraston School Kimbolton School King Edward’s School, Witley King William’s College, Isle of Man Kingham Hill School Kings Bournemouth King’s College School, Cambridge King’s College, Taunton King’s Hall School

King’s School, Rochester (Incl Prep) KING’S SCHOOL, BRUTON King’s School, Ely (Incl Junior) Kingsley School Kingswood Preparatory School KINGSWOOD SCHOOL Kirkham Grammar School Kitebrook Prep School Lambrook School LANCASTER ROYAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL Lancing College Langley School Lathallan School LEIGHTON PARK SCHOOL Leweston School (Incl Prep) Lime House School Lincoln Minster School Liverpool College Llandovery College Lockers Park School Lomond School Longridge Towers School Lord Wandsworth College Loretto School (Incl Junior) LOUGHBOROUGH GRAMMAR SCHOOL Luckley House School Lucton School (incl Prep) LUDGROVE SCHOOL LVS Ascot Maidwell Hall School Malvern College Malvern St James Marlborough College Marlborough House School Marymount London MAYFIELD SCHOOL Merchiston Castle School Mill Hill School Foundation Millfield Preparatory School Millfield School MILTON ABBEY SCHOOL MONKTON COMBE PREPARATORY SCHOOL MONKTON COMBE SENIOR SCHOOL Monmouth School for Boys Monmouth School for Girls Moor Park School Moorland School More House School Moreton Hall School Moulsford Preparatory School Mount Kelly School (Incl Prep) Mount St Mary’s College Mowden Hall School Moyles Court School MPW London Myddelton College New Hall School North London Grammar School Northbourne Park School Oakham School Old Buckenham Hall School Old Swinford Hospital Orwell Park School Oswestry School Oundle School Oxford Sixth Form College Packwood Haugh School Padworth College Pangbourne College Papplewick School Perrott Hill School

Peter Symonds College Pinewood School Plymouth College Pocklington School (Incl Prep) Port Regis Preparatory School Prestfelde School Prior Park College Prior’s Field School Queen Anne’s School Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate Queen Margaret’s School Queen Mary’s School Queen Victoria School Queen’s College, Taunton (Incl Prep) Queenswood School Radley College Ratcliffe College (Incl Prep) Reading School Reddam House Berkshire Reed’s School Rendcomb College REPTON SCHOOL Richard Huish College Riddlesworth Hall Preparatory School Rikkyo School in England Ripon Grammar School RISHWORTH SCHOOL Rochester Independent College Rockport School Roedean School Rookwood School Rossall School Royal Alexandra & Albert School ROYAL HIGH SCHOOL, BATH Royal Hospital School Royal Russell School Rugby School Ruthin School Ryde School with Upper Chine Rye St Antony School (Incl Prep) S.Anselm’s Preparatory School Saint Felix School Saint Ronan’s School Salisbury Cathedral School Sandroyd School Scarborough College Scarisbrick Hall School Seaford College (Incl Prep) Sedbergh School Sevenoaks School Sexey’s School Shaftesbury School SHEBBEAR COLLEGE Sherborne Girls Sherborne Preparatory School Sherborne School SHERFIELD SCHOOL Shiplake College SHREWSBURY SCHOOL Sibford School Sidcot School Slindon College St Andrew’s Preparatory School, Eastbourne St Andrew’s School, Pangbourne St Bees School ST CATHERINE’S, BRAMLEY St Christopher School St Clare’s, Oxford St David’s College, Llandudno St Edmund’s School, Surrey St Edmund’s College & Prep School, Hertfordshire

St Edmund’s School, Canterbury (Incl Junior) St Edward’s Oxford St Francis’ College St George’s School, Ascot ST GEORGE’S SCHOOL, HARPENDEN St George’s School, Windsor St George’s, Edinburgh St Hugh’s Prep School, Lincolnshire St Hugh’s Prep School, Oxfordshire St John’s College School, Cambridge St John’s College, Southsea St John’s Beaumont Preparatory School St John’s School, Leatherhead St John’s School, Sidmouth St Joseph’s College (Incl Prep) St Lawrence College (Incl Junior) ST LEONARDS SCHOOL, FIFE St Margaret’s School, Bushey ST MARY’S CALNE St Mary’s Music School St Mary’s School, Ascot St Mary’s School, Cambridge St Michael’s School St Paul’s School, London St Peter’s Prep School St Peter’s School, York (incl St Olave’s) ST SWITHUN’S SCHOOL St Teresa’s School Stamford Endowed Schools Stamford Junior School Stephen Perse Foundation Stewart’s Melville College STEYNING GRAMMAR SCHOOL Stoke College Stonar School STONYHURST COLLEGE Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall Stover School (Incl Prep) Strathallan School (Incl Prep) Summer Fields School Sunningdale School Sutton Valence School (incl Prep) Swanbourne House School Talbot Heath School (Incl Junior) TASIS, The American School in England Taunton Preparatory School Taunton School Teikyo Foundation School Terra Nova School Terrington Hall School Tettenhall College The Chorister School The Downs Malvern THE DUKE OF YORK’S ROYAL MILITARY SCHOOL The Elms School The Hammond School The King’s School, Canterbury THE LEYS SCHOOL The Mary Erskine School The Montessori Place, Hove The Mount School The National Mathematics and Science College The New Beacon School The Oratory Preparatory School The Oratory School The Pilgrims’ School The Prebendal School The Purcell School for Young Musicians The Read School The Royal Ballet School The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe

Boarding School Maga

The Royal Masonic School for Girls The Royal School, Armagh The Royal School, Dungannon The Royal School, Surrey THE ROYAL SCHOOL, WOLVERHAMPTON The Thomas Adams School The Wellington Academy Thetford Grammar School Thornton College Tonbridge School Trent College Tring Park School for the Performing Arts Trinity School Truro High School for Girls (Incl Prep) Truro School Tudor Hall School Twyford School Uppingham School Victoria College, Belfast Vinehall School Walhampton School Warminster School (Incl Prep) Warwick School Wellesley House School Wellington College Wellington School WELLS CATHEDRAL SCHOOL (INCL PREP) West Buckland School West Hill Park School Westbourne House School Westbourne School Westminster Abbey Choir School Westminster Cathedral Choir School WESTMINSTER SCHOOL, WESTMINSTER Westonbirt School (Incl Prep) Whitgift School Winchester College Winchester House School Windermere School Windlesham House School Wisbech Grammar School Witham Hall School WOLDINGHAM SCHOOL Woodbridge School Woodcote House School Woodhouse Grove School Worksop College (Incl Prep) Worth School Wrekin College Wychwood School (Oxford) Ltd Wycliffe College (incl Prep) Wycombe Abbey WYMONDHAM COLLEGE Wymondham College Prep School Yehudi Menuhin School

College du Leman International School, Switzerland Complejo Educativo Mas Camarena, Spain Ecole Jeannine Manuel, France Exupery International School, Latvia Glenstal Abbey School, Ireland Institut Montana Zugerberg, Switzerland International School Eerde, Netherlands International School of Milan International School San Patricio Toledo John F Kennedy International School, Switzerland Kilkenny College, Ireland King’s College, The British School of Madrid, Spain The Koc School, Turkey La Garenne, Switzerland Laude Lady Elizabeth School, Spain Leysin American School, Switzerland Lundsbergs Skola, Sweden Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz, Switzerland Midleton College, Ireland Open Gate Boarding School, Czech Republic Préfleuri International Alpine School Rathdown School, Ireland Rockwell College, Ireland Schule Schloss Salem, Germany Sigtunaskolan Humanistiska Läroverket, Sweden Sotogrande International School, Spain St Columba’s College, Ireland St George’s International School, Germany St George’s International School, Switzerland St Gilgen International School GmbH, Austria St John’s International School, Belgium St Louis School Milan St Peter’s International School, Portugal Surval Montreux, Switzerland The International School of Paphos, Cyprus The Kings Hospital, Ireland Villiers School, Ireland


EUROPEAN MEMBERS A+ World Academy, Switzerland Aiglon College, Switzerland Alexandra College, Ireland Amadeus International School, Austria American Collegiate Institute, Turkey Apex 2100, France Berlin Brandenburg International School, Germany Bestepe College, Turkey Blackrock College, Ireland Brillantmont International School, Switzerland Cabella International Sahaja School, Italy Clongowes Wood College, Ireland College Alpin Beau Soleil, Switzerland College Champittet, Switzerland

Assam Valley School, India Atlantic Hall School, Nigeria Avi-Cenna International School, Nigeria Braeburn Schools Brisbane Grammar School, Australia British International School Lagos Bromsgrove International School, Thailand Dalian American International School (Nord Anglia Group), China Day Waterman College, Nigeria Dulwich College Suzhou, China Episcopal High School, USA Epsom College in Malaysia Fay School, USA Fettes College, Guangzhou Frensham, Australia Greensteds International School, Kenya Hangzhou Greentown Yuhua School, China Harrow Innovation Leadership Academy Chongqing Harrow Innovation Leadership Academy Nanning Harrow International School Shenzhen Qianhai Harrow Innovation Leadership Academy Zhuhai Harrow International School Bangkok, Thailand Harrow International School Haikou Harrow International School, Hong Kong Idyllwild Arts Academy, USA ISA Science City International School Guangzhou Jerudong International School, Brunei Kincoppal-Rose Bay, Australia King Henry VIII College, Malaysia Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar, Malaysia

All highlighted schools have advertised in this issue of the Guide.

Lady Eleanor Holles International School Foshan, China The Lawrence School, Lovedale, India The Lawrence School, Sanawar, India Letovo School, Russian Federation Marlborough College, Malaysia Merchiston International School, China Methodist Ladies’ College, Australia Michaelhouse, South Africa Miles Bronson Residential School, India MIT Pune’s Vishwashanti Gurukul, India New School Georgia Nord Anglia Chinese International School, Shanghai, China Nord Anglia School, Beijing, Fangshan Nord Anglia School, Foshan Nord Anglia School, Guangzhou, Panyu Nord Anglia School Jiaxing, China Nord Anglia School, Nantong Nord Anglia School, Ningbo, Fenghua Nord Anglia School, Shenzhen Nord Anglia School, Suzhou North London Collegiate School, Jeju, Korea NUCB International College, Japan Peponi School, Kenya Pinegrove School, India Prem Tinsulanonda International School, Thailand Pymble Ladies’ College, Australia Regents International School Pattaya, Thailand Rong Qiao Sedbergh School Rugby School Thailand School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA) The Scindia School, Gwalior, India Sela Qui International School, India Shattuck-St Mary’s School, Malaysia St Andrew’s College, South Africa St Andrew’s Prep School Turi, Kenya St Andrew’s Senior School Turi, Kenya St Christopher Schools, Kenya St George’s College, Argentina Swiss International Scientific School Dubai, UAE The British School of Lome’, Togo The Doon School, India The Forman School, USA The Hill School, USA The Hun School of Princeton, USA The International School of Penang (Uplands), Malaysia The International School, Bangalore, India The King’s School, Australia The Mayo College, India The Regent Secondary School, Nigeria Toowoomba Anglican School, Australia United World College South East Asia, Singapore Wellington College International Tianjin, China Welham Boys’ School, India Welham Girls’ School, India Westlake International School, Malaysia Windsor High School at Albany, Bahamas Woodstock School, India Whanganui Collegiate School, New Zealand Wycombe Abbey School Changzhou, China Wycombe Abbey School Hangzhou, China Wycombe Abbey School, Hong Kong Wycombe Abbey School Nanjing, China Yew Chung International School of Qingdao, China Yew Wah International Education School of Guangzhou , China Yew Wah International Education School, Zhejiang Tongxiang Campus, China Yew Wah School of Shanghai Changning, China Yew Wah International Education School of Shanghai Lingang, China


An HMC boarding and day school educating 360 boys and girls aged 13 to 18

This is King's Bruton

Virtual Open Day To arrange a visit to the School and have a tour with the Headmaster, or to arrange a video call, please contact the Registrar, Gilly Bunday

BSA Parents Guide and Services Guide.indd 1

23/07/2022 13:49:47

Boarding at Dulwich College Dulwich College is one of the UK’s leading independent schools with an international reputation for academic excellence and a boarding community of over 20 nationalities. Find out more at

Historic and award-winning buildings in a 70-acre campus, only 12 minutes from central London

Outstanding facilities for science, art, music, drama and sport

ADVERTORIAL MRS KATE HAWTIN, HEAD OF SIXTH FORM AND MRS HELEN HARKNESS, SENIOR BOARDING HOUSEMISTRESS We are extremely proud that St Catherine’s was a winner in the Boarding Schools’ Association ‘Supporting Excellence Awards’ in recognition of The 6 – our new home for sixth form day and boarding students opened in Spring 2021. The 6 was designed by IID Architects, with alumna Helen Whateley (Year of 2008) leading the process.

“The new facilities are very impressive. Of particular note was the naming of the spaces after inspirational women. It is hoped that the new facilities will be an inspiration for the young women at St Catherine’s, Bramley!” THE JUDGES One of the major benefits of boarding at St Catherine’s, whether entering at 11, 13 or 16, is the development of firm and lifelong friendships as well as the opportunity to enjoy being part of a strong, supportive, happy and global community. Through boarding our girls develop a strong sense of independence, allowing them to gain confidence, learning crucial life skills and gaining a healthy respect for individuality as they learn from others. With no commute, girls have extra time to pursue extra-curricular activities, with access to our sports, arts and music facilities long into the evening. In Bronte House, girls from 11-13 live in a homely and secure environment, cared for by resident staff who are also academic teachers. They provide a routine and structure through extra-curricular fun, homework, supper and lights-out that gives girls a solid foundation as they grow from children into their teenage years.

“We learn to be more considerate because we are living in a community and everyone is always thinking of others, making boarding a happy place to live in, just like a family.” CURRENT PUPIL In the sixth form, we provide an environment that encourages girls to work hard and play hard, that gives them the confidence to aim for and achieve high standards whilst also having fun! Our girls contribute increasingly to the running of the school, affording them valuable leadership experience whilst acting as role models for the younger girls. When all our girls go on to further education, it is with a sense of achievement, purpose, and a strong awareness of their place in the world as young women with an extraordinary potential.

GSA Day & Boarding School since 1885 | 4 - 18 years

We are welcoming more and more girls in Year 7 at the start of their journey and spaces in our new and award winning Sixth Form boarding house, ‘The 6,’ are in demand. We firmly believe in the benefits of boarding, amongst them:

• • • • • • •

increased independence and resourcefulness the ability to organise academic, social and extra-curricular time learning to develop positive emotions and relationships the care and support of a global community access to the School’s facilities before and after the School day open-mindedness, empathy and understanding that comes from living with others reduced self-consciousness and acceptance of difference

CONSIDERING BOARDING AT 11 AND OR AT 16 READY TO TRANSITION TO UNIVERSITY? Call or email for our free guides: 00 44 (0) 1483 899609

We made friends for life

at T he Leys


Achieve the exceptional at Cambridge’s leading co-educational boarding and day school for ages 11-18

Academic Music Choral Sport Art STEM Drama



A truly international boarding community with premium accommodation located close to Central London. ACS Cobham's world class facilities and wide range of challenging academic programmes help our students to feel secure, supported and inspired – so that they can be outstanding.

International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Curriculum